Chinese Medical Journal (2016-01-01)

Comparative Study between Robotic Total Thyroidectomy with Central Lymph Node Dissection via Bilateral Axillo-breast Approach and Conventional Open Procedure for Papillary Thyroid Microcarcinoma

  • Qing-Qing He,
  • Jian Zhu,
  • Da-Yong Zhuang,
  • Zi-Yi Fan,
  • Lu-Ming Zheng,
  • Peng Zhou,
  • Lei Hou,
  • Fang Yu,
  • Yan-Ning Li,
  • Lei Xiao,
  • Xue-Feng Dong,
  • Gao-Feng Ni

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 129, no. 18
pp. 2160 – 2166


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Background: A large proportion of the patients with papillary thyroid microcarcinoma are young women. Therefore, minimally invasive endoscopic thyroidectomy with central neck dissection (CND) emerged and showed well-accepted results with improved cosmetic outcome, accelerated healing, and comforting the patients. This study aimed to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of robotic total thyroidectomy with CND via bilateral axillo-breast approach (BABA), compared with conventional open procedure in papillary thyroid microcarcinoma. Methods: One-hundred patients with papillary thyroid microcarcinoma from March 2014 to January 2015 in Jinan Military General Hospital of People's Liberation Army (PLA) were randomly assigned to robotic group or conventional open approach group (n = 50 in each group). The total operative time, estimated intraoperative blood loss, numbers of lymph node removed, visual analog scale (VAS), postoperative hospital stay time, complications, and numerical scoring system (NSS, used to assess cosmetic effect) were analyzed. Results: The robotic total thyroidectomy with CND via BABA was successfully performed in robotic group. There were no conversion from the robotic surgeries to open or endoscopic surgery. The subclinical central lymph node metastasis rate was 35%. The mean operative time of the robotic group was longer than that of the conventional open approach group (118.8 ± 16.5 min vs. 90.7 ± 10.3 min, P 0.05). Neither iatrogenic implantation nor metastasis occurred in punctured porous channel or chest wall in both groups. Postoperative cosmetic results were very satisfactory in the robotic group. Conclusions: Robotic total thyroidectomy with CND via BABA is safe and effective for Chinese patients with papillary thyroid microcarcinoma who worry about the neck scars.