Robotic Thyroid Cancer Surgery: Robotic Surgery Gives You a Choice!Thyroid cancer, or the fear of thyroid cancer causes many questions but also give you many options regarding the different ways to treat your thyroid nodule and/or thyroid cancer.
- Do I have thyroid cancer?
- What does it mean to have an indeterminate thyroid nodule?
- What is my risk of having a thyroid cancer?
- Should I get a molecular or genetic testing for an additional information?
- My cancer is small, should I just watch it and get a new neck ultrasound annually?
- Or should I get surgery?
- Do I do partial thyroid surgery or total and remove the entire thyroid gland?
- Should I have the traditional open surgery or the scarless thyroid surgery?
- If scarless thyroid surgery, should it be transoral thyroid surgery or robotic thyroid surgery?
- What is my best option for treating my thyroid cancer?
It is natural to have these questions about thyroid cancer. This section will give you the answers.
If you have a thyroid nodule you will get a neck ultrasound test, and from there you will almost certainly have a "fine needle aspiration" (FNA) biopsy of the thyroid nodule for an evaluation under the microscope. Your endocrinologist will evaluate the size and appearance of your thyroid nodule as well as your symptoms including swallowing, breathing, voice quality, and abnormal hormonal imbalance symptoms. Once the diagnosis of cancer has been established, thyroid surgery is generally recommended. If your initial FNA biopsy is inconclusive, additional testing such as genetic or molecular testing may be obtained. If it yields a positive result, thyroid surgery is recommended. Removing the nodule can help with the diagnosis, and potentially be your cure if it is a cancer. In a highly selective group of low risk thyroid cancer patients or someone who is poor surgical candidate may be considered for an active surveillance.
What are my Options for Thyroid Cancer Surgery? Can a Robot be Used?YES! Robotic thyroid surgery may be the absolute best choice for many patients with thyroid cancer. In the picture above is a young woman who had scarless robotic thyroid surgery. The second photo is a similar young woman who had the traditional thyroid cancer operation with a neck scar, and the second photo shows the result. In the past, traditional open thyroid surgery was the only option. Now, you have a true option. You can choose between open thyroid surgery (the old fashioned way with a large scar on the neck) or a scarless robotic thyroid surgery for your thyroid cancer. Robotic surgery for thyroid cancer is so new that your doctors may not know that this option exists. Regardless of your age, gender or sex, when it comes to thyroid surgery, we all care about two things: having the best possible care for the cancer, and the visible scar in our neck.
If you did not care about the scar on your neck before the surgery, you will after the surgery. This is a quality-of-life issue that your doctor may not have considered. What is so natural and intuitive for you, may be an acquired perspective for your doctors including the surgeons. No right-minded surgeon will ask the patient, “do you care about your scar? Which will be so visible in your lower neck.” Everybody cares.
Note from Dr Suh about training in robotic thyroid surgery in Korea.
During my fellowship training in endocrine surgery at the Massachusetts General Hospital, I have met a group of surgeons from the Seoul National University Hospital in South Korea. They introduced me to a novel robotic thyroid surgery. I was intrigued, but mostly skeptical. But I knew better not to judge anything before I completely understand about it. I then went to Korea for 6 months to learn the robotic thyroid surgery technique firsthand. I was shocked. These surgeons had developed and were mastering the technique using robot. They were years ahead of the thyroid surgeons in the US, even at the most famous US universities. I was convinced that this was a fantastic operation for many patients with thyroid problems and thyroid cancer. Upon my return to Mass General, I asked all my patients in the preop holding area just before their surgery. “Do you care about your neck scar? They all said "yes!". When I asked them “Would you prefer to have your thyroid surgery with same outcome without a scar?” Ten out of ten patients emphatically said, “yes!” Getting cured matters, but so does what you look like forever.
Robotic Thyroid Surgery is Great for Many Thyorid Cancers.As a scarless technique, robotic thyroid surgery is best suited for cancer operation with its superior visualization, design, working space, and instruments. Robot is merely a tool for surgery. Surgeon controls the robot and the surgeons experience dictates the outcome. Robotic surgery in cancer treatment is a well-established standard. Now the scarless robotic surgery for thyroid cancer is a true option as a best treatment for cure. We have an entire page that discusses how to travel to Tampa to have Dr Suh perform your scarless thyroid operation.
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