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New robot-assisted surgical method found successful for treatment of thyroid cancer
Date:8/19/2009

ifferentiated, local thyroid tumors of at least two centimeters. Using the da Vinci Surgical System (Intuitive Surgical), a surgeon removed all or part of the thyroid gland by making an incision under the patient's right arm (in the patient's lesion-side axilla), eliminating the need for a neck incision.

After the operation, all patients underwent neck ultrasonography and serum thyroglobulin tests at three- and six-month intervals. Of the 45 patients who had a bilateral total thyroidectomy, 38 received radioactive iodine (RAI) therapy between four and six weeks postoperatively and a body scan two days later to investigate possible abnormal radiation uptake. Seven low-risk patients did not undergo RAI.

In this study, postoperative complications included transient low calcium levels (hypocalcemia) in 12 patients (26.7 percent), transient hoarseness in 8 patients (4 percent) and permanent nerve paralysis in one patient (0.5 percent). Serum parathyroid hormone levels were slightly reduced during the immediate postoperative period but normalized within one month of the operation.

In the patients who underwent bilateral total thyroidectomy, serum thyroglobulin was less than one nanogram per milliliter in 42 patients (93.3 percent). No tumor recurrence was observed by neck ultrasonography at 10 and 18 months postoperatively, and no patient was found to have abnormal radiation uptake.


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Contact: Sally Garneski
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