Author(s): Ortega J, Sala C, Flor B, Lledo S
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Thyroid surgery technique has undergone very few changes in the last century. The UltraCision harmonic scalpel (UHS) (Smithfield, RI) has been widely used in laparoscopic surgery and is documented to be safe and fast for cutting and coagulating tissue. We studied whether the use of the UHS could have advantages in thyroid surgery in terms of operative time, length of hospitalization, morbidity, and general costs. METHOD: Our study was a prospective randomized trial of thyroidectomies and lobectomies performed for benign thyroid diseases in an endocrine surgery unit between February 2001 and July 2002. Patients were randomized in two groups: group A (n=100) underwent thyroidectomy using UHS and group B (n=100) with the conventional clamp-and-tie technique. Main outcome measures were demographics, operating time, length of hospitalization, intra- and postoperative complications, sequelae, and general costs. We used the unpaired 2-tailed Student's t test and the chi2 test to compare the series. RESULTS: The two groups were similar in age and sex. Mean +/- SD operative time was shorter in the UHS group compared with the conventional technique group for both lobectomy (61 +/- 06 vs. 78 +/- 10 minutes) and total thyroidectomy (86 +/- 20 vs. 101 +/- 16 minutes). Length of hospitalization was similar in both groups (1.07 vs. 1.15 days). We did not find statistical differences between the two techniques regarding transient postoperative complications. There were no deaths, no blood transfusions, no intraoperative complications, and no postoperative definitive sequelae. The global charges for every patient were significantly less in the UHS group (985.77 +/- 107.08 euro vs. 1148.40 +/- 153.25 euro). CONCLUSION: The use of ultrasonically activated shears resulted in a reduction of 15-20\% in operative time and was cost-effective compared to the conventional technique group.
This article was published in J Laparoendosc Adv Surg Tech A
and referenced in Journal of Defense Management