Background: There is ongoing debate about whether or not robot-assisted thyroidectomy is appropriate for modified radical neck dissection (MRND). The purpose of this study was to compare the surgical outcomes of robot-assisted MRND with those of a conventional open procedure. Methods: One hundred and forty-five patients who underwent total thyroidectomy, bilateral central neck dissection, and MRND (robotic, n = 28; open, n = 117) at our institution from June 2011 to June 2015 were enrolled in the study. The surgical completeness and complication rates in the robotic and open groups were retrospectively compared after 1:3 propensity score matching for age, sex, body mass index, tumor size, and extrathyroidal extension. Results: The complication rates, including transient or permanent hypoparathyroidism and recurrent laryngeal nerve palsy, were comparable between the study groups (p > 0.05). The operating time was significantly longer in the robotic group than in the open group (p < 0.001). There was no significant difference in the number of retrieved lymph nodes, metastatic lymph nodes, or stimulated serum thyroglobulin level between the two groups (p = 0.733, p = 0.663, and p = 0.285, respectively). Conclusions: The surgical outcomes, including complication and completeness rates, were comparable between robot-assisted MRND using a bilateral axillary breast approach and conventional open surgery. Robot-assisted MRND can be recommended as an alternative to a conventional open procedure for thyroidectomy.
- Bilateral axillary breast approach
- da Vinci robot
- Modified radical neck dissection
- Propensity score matching