Minimally Invasive Thyroid Surgery Leaves Minimal Scarring

Published On 03/10/2011

No one wants a visible reminder of a surgery, and thanks to medical advances, technology now gives surgeons a way to leave virtually no scar on the front of the neck after thyroid surgery.

“With recent advancements in endoscopic and laparoscopic techniques it is possible to use endoscopes to visualize the interior of the neck and take the thyroid gland out through a very small incision measuring just about an inch in length,” explained Sandeep Samant, M.D., a head and neck surgeon at Methodist University Hospital. “By making such a small incision in the neck, it is barely visible and you only really notice it if you know to look for a scar.”

Before the minimally invasive approach, the incision left after a thyroid surgery was three inches or longer, which was quite obvious since it went across almost the entire front of the neck.

There are several reasons that require patients to have one or both thyroid glands removed, including cancerous and benign nodules, large glands, or overactive glands. Julie Morganelli had a nodule on her right thyroid gland removed which turned out to be benign. “The thing I like the most about this procedure is that the incision is very, very small,” said Morganelli.

With the smaller incision, most patients get to go home the same day. Morganelli did go home the same day and had a quick recovery which is typical. “I had the surgery on a Wednesday and I was able to return to work on Monday,” she said.

Dr. Samant says not everyone is a candidate for minimally invasive thyroidectomy. If a patient is sick, has a very large gland or has cancer extending beyond the gland, that patient is not a candidate for same day surgery.

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