What Is Scarless Thyroid Surgery?

Drs. Artiyan and Morris (320x240)
credit: Scott HolmesScarless thyroid surgery

Scarless thyroid surgery allows for the safe and total removal of the thyroid or parathyroid glands with absolutely no external scarring to the neck.

Despite recent advances in the thyroidectomy procedure, resulting in smaller scarring, conventional thyroid removal will result in a significant scar on the neck.

Scarless thyroid surgery preserves the natural appearance the neck and leaves no external reminder of the operation.  

About the Procedure

Scarless thyroid surgery (also called transoral thyroidectomy or transoral vestibular approach) is a safe and effective approach to removing abnormal thyroid or parathyroid glands. This innovative procedure leaves no visible scar on the neck. The new transoral vestibular approach has the same results as the conventional open thyroidectomy but without the undesirable scarring.

Conventional open thyroid surgery uses a two-inch or larger incision in the neck. The conventional approach unavoidably leaves a noticeable lifelong scar on the neck—a very difficult area to conceal.

The scarless thyroid procedure was designed to truly leave no scar. This is because there is no wound in the neck. This new transoral vestibular approach accesses the thyroid gland through small incisions inside the mouth.  

Are You a Candidate for Scarless Thyroid Surgery?

Many individuals who needs their thyroid or parathyroid glands removed are potential candidates for scarless thyroid surgery. However, there are some restricting factors pertaining to gland size and overall medical condition. Our multidisciplinary team thoroughly evaluates each patient to recommend the safest, most effective treatment.

Candidates for the scarless thyroid surgery may have had the following diagnoses:

  • Thyroid cancer nodule less than 2 cm
  • Thyroid removal for benign conditions such as goiter or Graves’ disease
  • Benign thyroid nodule less than 6 cm
  • Primary hyperparathyroidism
  • Limited secondary or tertiary cases of hyperparathyroidism

After Your Scarless Thyroid Surgery

The procedure requires an overnight hospital stay. A dedicated care team closely monitors the patient’s recovery from the procedure and anesthesia. Patients are typically discharged the following morning.

At home, patients will take oral antibiotics and pain medications and use special mouth rinses for several days. Over time the small stitches placed during surgery dissolve on their own. Some minor bruising on the chin or neck usually resolves within a week.

Outlook


Studies have shown that scarless thyroid removal results in similar cure rates as in conventional open thyroid surgery.

A recent study reported that complication rates in over 400 transoral vestibular procedures were similar to those in conventional thyroidectomy. As with any surgery, there are some risks associated with the procedure. However, based on current scientific literature the scarless approach seems to be as safe and effective as the traditional approach for the great majority of patients. Because this is a relatively new operation in the United States surgical outcomes continue to be studied.

Reference

Anuwong A, Ketwong K, Jitpratoom P, Sasanakietkul T, Duh QY. Safety and Outcomes of the Transoral Endoscopic Thyroidectomy Vestibular Approach. JAMA Surg. 2018 Jan 1;153(1):21-7.