Most centers that provide surgical options for removal of the thyroid gland require a neck incision. This scar can range from 1 inch to 4 inches long. If you are facing thyroid surgery, you might be concerned about having a visible scar on your neck afterward. Novel innovation at Weill Cornell Medical College/New York Presbyterian Medical Center allows some patient to avoid a visible scar using a robot to access the thyroid from your armpit.
How does it work?
Endocrine/Robotic Surgeon surgeon Rasa Zarnegar MD FACS, says that instead of accessing the thyroid through an incision in your neck, a surgeon using this technique can reach the thyroid through a small cut in your armpit.
The surgeon performs the procedure using the latest robotic platform the Intuitive DaVinci Xi which is controlled by the surgeon from a console and allows for greater precision and magnification to reduce complications.
At our center our robotic team routinely performs over 150 robotic cases yearly. Patients are selected for the scarless approach based on their preference, the characteristics of their thyroid gland and our teams recommendations. The dedicated robotic team lead by Rasa Zarnegar MD focuses on a personalized approach to the management of their surgery.
The Scarless technique: Is it better?
Scarless surgery is a great option for select patients and is not for everyone. The big advantage of this approach is no visible neck scar.
Good candidates for scarless thyroid surgery:
Are at a normal body weight, as this type of surgery can’t be performed on people who are overweight
Have small-sized thyroid nodules without associated conditions such as thyroiditis or Grave’s disease
For example, the robotic surgical technique can be used to remove thyroid nodules smaller than 5 cm, or to remove thyroid cancer less than 2 cm that is limited to the thyroid and there is no evidence of spread outside the thyroid.
What are the Advantages of the Robot?
Magnification on the robot allows improved visualization of important structures including the nerves and parathyroids.
Removal of the whole thyroid from one incision.
The robotic instruments behave like the surgeons hands and can rotate in all directions providing improved precision for dissection.
What’s the recovery like?
The recovery from scarless robotic thyroid surgery is similar to traditional surgical methods. Most people go home the day after surgery, and can return to work after two to three weeks.
Is this approach covered by my insurance?
Some insurance companies will cover this approach. However, since the end result is primarily to avoid a visible scar checking with your carrier is important prior to final approval for this approach. Our team will facilitate this and if coverage is not complete will offer options to you.