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Ann Surg Oncol. 2012 Sep;19(9):2963-70. doi: 10.1245/s10434-012-2253-2. Epub 2012 Apr 26.

Postoperative functional voice changes after conventional open or robotic thyroidectomy: a prospective trial.

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Department of Surgery, Ajou University School of Medicine, Suwon, Korea.



To use objective and subjective voice function analysis to compare outcomes in patients who had undergone conventional open thyroidectomy or robotic thyroidectomy.


The study involved 88 consecutive patients who underwent thyroid surgery between May 2009 and December 2009; 46 patients underwent a conventional open thyroidectomy, and 42 underwent a robotic thyroidectomy. Auditory perceptual evaluation was used to make subjective assessments of voice function, and videolaryngostroboscopy, acoustic voice analysis with aerodynamic study, electroglottography, and voice range profile were used to make objective assessments. Each assessment was made before surgery, and at 1 week and 3 months after surgery.


The conventional open and robotic thyroidectomy groups were similar in terms of age, gender ratio, and disease profile. We found that 18 (20.5%) of the 88 patients showed some level of voice dysfunction at 1 week after surgery; that the dysfunction resolved by 3 months after surgery in all cases; and that it was not permanent according to postoperative videolaryngostroboscopy. The conventional open and robotic thyroidectomy groups were found to have similar levels of dysfunction at 1 week after surgery, except for jitter, which was greater in the robotic group. For both groups, any such dysfunction spontaneously resolved by 3 months after surgery, and there were no significant differences between the groups in terms of any voice function parameter.


Voice dysfunction was present after both open and robotic thyroidectomy (without any evident laryngeal nerve injury). However, function subsequently normalized to preoperative levels at 3 months after surgery in both groups. Voice function outcomes after robotic thyroidectomy are similar to those after conventional open thyroidectomy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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