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September 2013

Robotic Thyroidectomy: Do It Well or Don’t Do It

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Endocrine Surgery, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pennsylvania
  • 2Section of Surgical Endocrinology, Department of Surgical Oncology, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston
JAMA Surg. 2013;148(9):806-808. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2013.2253

Surgeons are consistently innovating and searching for alternative and better methods to enhance their technical feats. To this end, the thyroid gland has been no less of a target organ for which surgeons are looking to make a good operation better. Having little to improve on relating to structural dissection and resection, elimination of the anterior neck blemish has been the past decade’s pursuit. Since the mid-1990s, endoscopic approaches to thyroid surgery with cervical, axillary, or even mammary access have been described. In 2005, the translation of robotic platform technology to enhance the noncervical approach to thyroid resection came into play.1 The technique remained novel until 2007, when multiple published reports propelled the procedure forward. These reports consisted of the robust experience of our Korean colleagues.2,3 This group built on the vast experience of training with robotic technology for general surgical procedures and on prior experience with remote-access endoscopic thyroid resection techniques in a slender patient population.2,3 The new alternative approaches were centered on avoidance of the anterior neck incision and the perceived improved aesthetic outcome.

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