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Thyroid. 2010 Dec;20(12):1327-32. doi: 10.1089/thy.2010.1666.

Robotic thyroidectomy: a framework for new technology assessment and safe implementation.

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Department of Surgical Oncology, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA.


Robotic thyroidectomy is a new approach to thyroid surgery that offers the benefit of eliminating the anterior neck incision utilized in traditional approaches. Although no level I evidence exists to strongly support a robotic approach to thyroid surgery, initial non-randomized reports of robotic surgical approaches, in a variety of surgical specialty areas such as cardiothoracic, urologic, gynecologic and head and neck surgery suggest possible advantages of robot assisted techniques. These include platform and instrument stability, tremor reduction, articulating end effectors, three-dimensional, magnified imaging, and improved surgeon ergonomics. Potential negatives associated with robotic surgery include its expense, the lack of haptic feedback, instrument limitations, and the implicit learning curve. Robotic thyroidectomy introduces new potential risks, not typically associated with thyroid surgery. These risks are related to a new approach to the surrounding anatomy and are also associated with the learning curve. The introduction of new technology to any surgery mandates a rational framework for initial assessment and safe implementation. A New Technology Task Force was convened to draft guiding principles which may serve as a framework for the safe implementation of emerging technologies in thyroid surgery. This document suggests initial minimum steps that surgeons should consider during initial implementation of robotic thyroidectomy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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