Neck endoscopic surgery is likely to prove less invasive and more cosmetically advantageous than conventional methods. The surgical procedure used for 42 consecutive patients undergoing video-assisted thyroidectomy by the anterior chest wall approach is described herein. A 3-4 cm incision was made at the anterior chest wall 2 cm below the clavicle on the tumor side. Two Kirshner wires connected to a winching device were horizontally inserted beneath the skin in order to lift the neck skin. Specially made retractors were passed through the chest wall wound to the lateral neck bilaterally. Strap muscle on the tumor side was retracted laterally and the thyroid tumor was retracted medially. A suitable working space was thus created using this modified neck lifting method without gas insufflation. All patients underwent video-assisted thyroidectomy utilizing an anterior chest wall approach without conversion to open thyroidectomy. Mean operative time from incision to removal of the tumor was 145 min. Mean tumor size was 4.1 cm (range: 2.0-7.5 cm). The advantage of our approach is that the scar below the clavicle is invisible under normal clothing. In addition, conventional instruments for open thyroidectomy can be used. In our method, the thyroid tumor and trachea are palpable and some parts of the operation can be conducted under direct visualization if the assistant retracts the anterior chest wall wound upward. Video-assisted thyroidectomy utilizing an anterior chest wall approach is cosmetically less invasive, particularly for women who are frequently nervous about operative scars on the neck.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes