Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New approach to thyroid surgery eliminates neck scar

Date:
August 17, 2011
Source:
Northwestern Memorial Hospital
Summary:
Thyroid nodules affect nearly 13 million Americans and are a result of abnormal cell growth on the gland. Until recently, the only way to remove nodules and rule out cancer was through surgery that required a five centimeter incision across the front of the neck. Today however, a new option exists that allows surgeons to access the neck through the armpit, allowing for a biopsy of tissue with no visible scar.

As the rate of thyroid cancer continues to climb, doctors are urging patients to be more cautious about thyroid nodules, a common disorder that is responsible for a small but growing number of thyroid cancer cases. Thyroid nodules affect nearly 13 million Americans and are a result of abnormal cell growth on the gland. Until recently, the only way to remove nodules and rule out cancer was through surgery that required a five centimeter incision across the front of the neck. The procedure, and the large scar that resulted, was a deterrent for many patients who feared altering their appearance for something that may not be life threatening.

Related Articles


Today however, a new option exists that allows surgeons to access the neck through the armpit, allowing for a biopsy of tissue with no visible scar.

"We now have a minimally invasive way of determining if a thyroid nodule is cancerous," said Jose Dutra, MD, head and neck surgical oncologist and director of the Thyroid Surgical Clinic at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. "It's an approach that more patients are comfortable pursuing. If we can identify cancerous cells earlier we increase the chance of removing the cancer before it spreads."

The procedure, transaxillary robotic thyroid surgery, utilizes 3D cameras and specially designed robotic arms to create a small incision within the armpit, the mechanical arms work just like hands allowing the specialized surgeon to operate remotely with precise control and movements to remove suspicious nodules.

"The underarm area has fewer nerve endings than the anterior neck area, so there's less pain, no scarring on the neck, and with good care, the incision will heal faster," said Dutra who is also an associate professor at the department of otolaryngology/head and neck surgery at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

This summer, Socorro Delaluz became one of the first patients at Northwestern Memorial to undergo transaxillary thyroid robotic surgery. The mother of two was impressed to have the option that left no visible scar and the quick recovery associated with the technique.

"I didn't want to be reminded constantly, every morning when I get dressed that I had a scar across my neck. I would have to explain to everyone what happened all the time," expressed Delaluz.

Another benefit of the minimally invasive approach is that the precision of the robot allows physicians to remove all of the potentially cancerous tissue while sparing more of the structure surrounding the gland.

"The thyroid gland controls how the body uses energy. Changes to the gland can cause a myriad of health issues," explained Dutra, member of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.

Thyroid nodules are six-times more common in women than men and can be difficult to diagnose because they often do not present signs or symptoms. Most nodules are small and are often found incidentally during a routine physical or imaging for an unrelated condition. Conditions that can cause one or more nodules to develop in the thyroid gland range from overgrowth of normal thyroid tissue, tumors, a cyst, inflammation and goiters. Individuals should routinely check their neck and should talk with their doctor if they notice any lumps or experience symptoms such as swelling, trouble swallowing, and pain in the throat or hoarseness of the voice.

Robotic surgery is currently widely used for minimally invasive heart and lower abdominal procedures, only recently have the robotic arms been applied to the confined space involved in neck and head surgery. The benefits for robotic thyroid surgery include shorter recovery period, less pain in neck following surgery and better preservation of the laryngeal nerves and the parathyroid glands.

Jennifer Panaro recently had a large nodule removed from her thyroid gland by way of transaxillary thyroid robotic surgery and was back on the tennis court just six weeks after her surgery. The 28 year old was impressed with the speedy recovery and was pleased her voice was protected. "I was thrilled to not experience any changes in my voice or to have deal with a large scar on my neck. As an accountant, I talk to clients all day and I would be self conscious about having a foreign mark across my throat," said Panaro, patient at Northwestern Memorial.

While the new technology has great advantages, Dutra stresses this option is not the best for all patients and not all tumors can be removed with this approach.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Northwestern Memorial Hospital. "New approach to thyroid surgery eliminates neck scar." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 August 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110809132222.htm>.
Northwestern Memorial Hospital. (2011, August 17). New approach to thyroid surgery eliminates neck scar. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110809132222.htm
Northwestern Memorial Hospital. "New approach to thyroid surgery eliminates neck scar." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110809132222.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dads-To-Be Also Experience Hormone Changes During Pregnancy

Dads-To-Be Also Experience Hormone Changes During Pregnancy

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) A study from University of Michigan researchers found that expectant fathers see a decrease in testosterone as the baby's birth draws near. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) Harvard researchers found children whose mothers were exposed to high pollution levels in the third trimester were twice as likely to develop autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) Border closures, quarantines and crop losses in West African nations battling the Ebola virus could lead to as many as one million people going hungry, UN food agencies said on Wednesday. Duration: 00:52 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins