Minimally Invasive Thyroidectomy (MIT)

The incidence of thyroid cancer has been steadily increasing over the past 20 years. Minimally invasive thyroidectomy is a surgical technique to minimize the trauma of surgery and speed up recovery, in addition to using a very small incision.

The MIT incision measures less then 2 cm (Fig. 1 MIT Incision, Fig. 2 MIT Incision and Fig. 3 Incision 2 Weeks After Surgery), and specialized endoscopes (Fig. 4 Endoscope) are used to be able to see the structures in the neck and perform the surgery. Magnification by the endoscopes allows better visualization of the important structures such as the Recurrent Laryngeal Nerve (RLN), the parathyroid glands, and the blood vessels that go into the thyroid and parathyroid glands (Fig. 5 Endoscopic View of Nerve and Parathyroid Gland).

1 MIT Incision1 MIT Incision
2 MIT Incision2 MIT Incision
3 Incision 2 Weeks After Surgery3 Incision 2 Weeks After
4 Endoscope4 Endoscope
5 Endoscopic View of Nerve and Parathyroid Gland5 Endoscopic View of Nerve
and Parathyroid Gland

The safety of thyroid surgery comes from an in depth understanding and knowledge of the anatomy of the neck, and how the thyroid develops in the womb. This understanding allows the surgeon to be prepared for any anatomic differences that may be present in different people. Our surgeons combine their vast experience with the latest endoscopic tools to enhance their ability to find the important structures in the neck during surgery, and to assure maximum safety. The thoroughness of MIT is equal to traditional thyroid surgery, and the risks and complications are the same as well. The size of the tumor being removed is a limitation on the size of incision that can be used (Fig. 7 MIT Incision and Left Thyroid Gland & Fig. 8 MIT Incision at the End of Surgery)

Fig. 7 MIT Incision and Left Thyroid Gland

Fig. 8 MIT Incision at the End of Surgery

The most important advantage of minimally invasive thyroid surgery (MIT) is a lot less pain after surgery, and therefore minimal use of pain medications. The reason for the less pain is that the technique is, exactly as the title states, less invasive and thus a lot less traumatic to the tissue. Although the small incision size seems to be a great advantage, and it is, it represents how minimal the trauma to the normal tissue of the neck is in MIT. When the tissue is traumatized less, there is going to be less pain and a lot faster recovery, as well as a much shorter hospital stay. Our patients who have a total thyroidectomy done, usually stay overnight, and some even go home the same day. Patients who have a hemi-thyroidectomy go home on the same day. The blood loss during MIT is usually minimal and we do not use drains.

Due to the ease of the surgery, limited pain and fast recovery, our patients are extremely happy with the results of their minimally invasive thyroid surgery. There are a few medical conditions and thyroid tumor characteristics that would prevent a patient from being eligible to have MIT, please consult our physicians to see if you qualify.

Table 1. Traditional Thyroidectomy Minimally Invasive
Incision length 2-4 inches ½ -1 inch
Post-operative pain Can be significant Minimal
Recovery time 2-3 weeks 10 days

To learn more, call our office today at (310) 889-0692.

Next, read about Parathyroid Disease