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New Surgical Approach to Remove Thyroid Gland Without Scarring the Neck

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  • Thyroidectomy procedure involves the removal of thyroid gland.
  • New surgical approach found to help remove thyroid gland without a neck scar.
  • The procedure involves making an incision behind the ear using robotic technology.

New Surgical Approach to Remove Thyroid Gland Without Scarring the Neck

A new surgical procedure to remove thyroid gland without neck scar was developed by a team of ENT Surgeons from Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center New Orleans. The procedure appears to be successful as that of the standard surgery.

The procedure was carried out with the advantage of modern robotics and endoscopic technology that involved the use of making an incision behind the ear instead of the neck.


The new study led by Rohan Walvekar, MD, Associate Professor of Otorhinolaryngology at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine, showed that this approach could be employed using standard surgical equipment and techniques making It more widely available.

The research study was published online in the Indian Journal of Otolaryngology Head and Head & Neck Surgery.

Dr. Walvekar, also noted that, "Our goal was to create an efficient, safe and cost effective approach that used standard surgical techniques and skills -- making the approach reproducible and attractive to well-trained thyroid surgeons who may not have access to specialized equipment."

It is a golden standard procedure that is used for the surgical management of thyroid disorders. Over the last two decades, immense efforts were put on to develop alternative approaches for thyroid surgical procedures without scarring the neck.

The procedure was found to be possible due to the robotic and endoscopic technology. There is a continuous demand for 'distant' access thyroid surgery which involves the use of specialized instruments and requires specially trained surgeons. The use of robotic technology for thyroidectomy is not approved by the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) for this purpose.

Walvekar, said, "At LSU Health New Orleans, we were the first to describe the feasibility of distant access to the thyroid using an incision behind the ear -- our work was published in 2010 in Surgical Endoscopy."

"Since then, we have modified our technique to create an opportunity for distant access to the thyroid via an incision behind the ear (retro -auricular) but allows the use of standard surgical equipment without the need for specialized equipment."

The outcome of patients who underwent the original technique with slightly modified incision was examined for a period of over 18 months. The incision placement was hidden inside the hairline and a natural skin crease. There were no major complications due to the procedure and satisfying results were obtained.

Even though the study was small with limited follow-up, the research paper was able to show the convenience of distant access thyroid surgery using conventional surgical techniques.

Walvekar, concludes that, "This approach is a cost effective option for patients seeking distant access thyroid surgery in an environment where health care resources and access to advanced technology are limited."

References :
  1. Jason Trahan, Laura Pelaez, Michael DiLeo, Daniel W. Nuss, Leslie S. Son, Rohan R. Walvekar. Retro-Auricular Thyroidectomy: An Open Approach. Indian Journal of Otolaryngology and Head & Neck Surgery, 2017; DOI: 10.1007/s12070-017-1069-6

Source: Medindia

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