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01.03.2012 | Ausgabe 3/2012

Surgical Endoscopy 3/2012

Minimally invasive video-assisted thyroidectomy: an analysis of results and a revision of indications

Surgical Endoscopy > Ausgabe 3/2012
Michele N. Minuto, Piero Berti, Mario Miccoli, Clara Ugolini, Valeria Matteucci, Manuela Moretti, Fulvio Basolo, Paolo Miccoli



The first report of minimally invasive video-assisted thyroidectomy (MIVAT) was published in 1999, and the indications were progressively implemented: from cytologically undetermined thyroid nodules to intermediate-risk differentiated thyroid cancers. The aim of this study was to review the entire series of patients who underwent a MIVAT, critically analyzing its indications and contraindications and trying to figure out how the indications might be extended.


From 1998 to 2009, a total of 1,946 patients (1,659 females, 287 males; mean age = 40.2 years) underwent MIVAT in our department. Inclusion criteria were benign thyroid nodules <35 mm, malignant nodules <20 mm, and an ultrasonographically estimated thyroid volume (ETV) <25 cc. The presence of suspicious or metastatic lymph nodes and the presence of severe thyroiditis were considered a contraindication for MIVAT.


A total thyroidectomy was performed in 1,435 patients (72.3%). A total lobectomy was performed in 511 cases (26.3%), and a central neck node sampling was associated with total thyroidectomy in 104 cases. Final histology revealed benign disease in 979 cases (51.5%) and a malignancy was diagnosed in 915 cases (48.5%). Unexpected thyroiditis was found on final histology in 17.9% of the patients with benign disease and 30.9% of patients with malignancy. The incidence of thyroiditis was significantly different in these two populations (p < 0.0001).


Our data confirm the validity of the traditional indications for MIVAT: low-risk differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC), cytologically undetermined nodules, and small-volume benign thyroid disease. The indications may be further and safely extended to those patients with associated thyroiditis and those with intermediate-risk DTC. MIVAT can be proposed on a much larger scale than it was at its onset and cannot be considered an option for only a limited number of patients.

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