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Thyroid. 2016 Apr;26(4):559-61. doi: 10.1089/thy.2015.0561. Epub 2016 Mar 8.

Track Recurrence After Robotic Transaxillary Thyroidectomy: A Case Report Highlighting the Importance of Controlled Surgical Indications and Addressing Unprecedented Complications.

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Division of Surgery, Department of Surgical Pathology, University Hospital of Pisa , Pisa, Italy .



Robot-assisted transaxillary thyroid surgery (RATS), widely accepted and used in Asian countries, can be an appealing treatment option both for patients with major concerns regarding a cervical scar and for their surgeons. Patients benefit from scarless neck surgery, while their surgeons benefit from improved dexterity and ergonomics compared with remote-access endoscopic thyroid surgery. However, validating any novel surgical procedure for thyroid pathology should be based on evidence regarding its feasibility, radicality, and safety compared to the time-honored, safe and effective, conventional open thyroidectomy. It should also be evaluated for potential risks that are not present with conventional approaches.


This study reports a patient with surgical track and cervical nodal recurrence, and distant metastasis following a two-stage robot-assisted surgery, and radioactive iodine ablation therapy for a papillary thyroid carcinoma that was initially regarded a single indeterminate nodule.


This case emphasizes the importance of thoroughly evaluating the oncological safety of RATS, and points out the possibility of "malignant seeding along the surgical access" being an untraditional potential complication associated with the procedure.


While tailoring the surgical strategy to the patients' concerns and desires is important, adhering to fundamental onco-surgical principles is a priority. Furthermore, unconventional complications associated with novel surgical procedures should be properly evaluated and addressed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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