Background: Video-assisted thyroidectomy (VAT) arisen as a valid treatment for selected patients with papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC), but no data concerning long-term oncologic outcome are available. The primary aim of the study was to evaluate the oncologic outcome of patients who underwent VAT for PTC with a follow-up ≥ 10 years. Methods: The medical charts of all the patients who successfully underwent VAT for PTC were reviewed. The patients with a minimum follow-up period of 120-months were included. Patients with unifocal PTC ≤ 1 cm, in the absence of lymph node metastases, without gross extracapsular invasion and age < 45 years were considered “low-risk” patients and followed with ultrasound and serum thyroglobulin (sTg) on levothyroxine (LT4); the remaining patients underwent nuclear medicine evaluation. Results: Two hundred and fifty-seven patients, operated on between May 2000 and October 2006, were included. Postoperative complications included four transient recurrent palsies, 76 transient and 1 permanent hypocalcemia. One hundred and four low-risk patients were followed with ultrasound and sTg on LT4. At a mean follow-up of 136.6 months, mean sTg on LT4 was 0.1 ± 0.1 ng/ml. None of them showed recurrence. The remaining 153 patients underwent nuclear medicine evaluation. Among these 153, 62 did not undergo radioiodine ablation (RAI). At a mean follow-up of 150.8 months, mean sTg on LT4 was 0.1 ± 0.1 ng/ml. None of them showed recurrence. The remaining 91 patients underwent RAI. Mean pre-RAI sTg off-LT4 was 8.3 ± 5.8 ng/ml, mean radioiodine uptake was 2.8 ± 4.4%. Among these 91, three pN1a patients developed a lateral neck node recurrence. No other recurrence was registered. At the latest follow-up mean sTg on LT4 in this subgroup of patients was 0.1 ± 0.2 ng/ml. Conclusions: The long-term (≥ 10 years) oncologic outcome further demonstrates that VAT is a valid option for selected PTC patients.
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