Background: Several experimental and clinical reports concerning endoscopic parathyroid surgery have appeared. However, reports concerning minimally invasive surgery for thyroid remains rare. Herein we present a new method, called video-assisted endoscopic thyroidectomy (VAET), for the management of various benign thyroid diseases. Methods: In all, 16 consecutive patients who underwent VAET for benign thyroid diseases were retrospectively studied. The study group included nodular hyperplasia in 8 patients, follicular adenoma in 6, and Hurthle's tumor and simple cyst in 1 each. A 2 to 3 cm transverse incision was made on the suprasternal notch. The wound was deepened to expose the underlying trachea from which the plane of the thyroid fascia was accessed directly, and the working space was established with lifting method using conventional instrument. All surgical procedures could be manipulated and monitored under laparoscopy without gas insufflation. The ultrasonically activated scalpel was the principal instrument used for VAET. Results: All 16 patients underwent VAET successfully without conversion to open thyroidectomy. The surgical procedures included lobectomy in 13 and extirpation in 3. The operation time ranged from 28 minutes to 5 hours (mean 1 hour, 42 minutes). For the 5 most recent cases, lobectomy took an average of 2 hours, whereas extirpation less than 40 minutes. The tumor size ranged from 3.5 cm to 8.0 cm (mean 5.8 cm). There were no surgical complications. All patients but 1 were discharged on postoperative day 2. During follow-up, all patients demonstrated euthyroid function and satisfactory cosmetic results.Conclusions: VAET emerges as a promising minimally invasive surgical technique replacing conventional thyroidectomy for benign thyroid diseases in selected cases, with the advantage of satisfactory cosmetic results. Copyright (C) 2000 Excerpta Medica Inc.
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