PERFORMING MINIMALLY INVASIVE THYROID SURGERY: A New Approach to Thyroidectomy
Thyroidectomy — that is, removal of part or all of the thyroid gland — is performed for nodules and cancer of the thyroid gland. It is also performed in some patients with overactive thyroid glands. Traditionally, the procedure is performed through an incision that is about 3-3½ inches in the lower neck. Minimally invasive video-assisted thyroidectomy (MIVAT) is a new approach. With this technique, thyroidectomy is performed through a much smaller incision, usually 1-2 inches.
MIVAT is an adaptation of the established minimally invasive laparoscopic procedures in which similar instrumentation, such as a long narrow telescope attached to a videocamera system, is used to enhance visualization, and special long narrow instruments that grab, cauterize, and cut tissues facilitate dissection through a small incision. Studies have shown that MIVAT can be safely performed with minimal complication rates, no different from those of conventional thyroidectomy. MIVAT is not appropriate for everyone, and careful patient selection is very important for successful outcome.