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What is Robotic Thyroidectomy and Its Benefits?


What is Robotic Thyroidectomy and Its Benefits? | Dr Deepak Sarin | Medanta


In thyroid surgery, a surgeon makes a small incision in the lower part of the neck in a naturally occurring incision crease. It heals well in most patients in the post-surgery phase, and the scars resulting from it become subtle or indistinguishable in a year or two.


But some recipients do not want any visible scar in the neck region after the completion of the surgery. Robotic thyroidectomy is an ideal solution for them. It is done with the help of a robot and it allows the placement of artificial scars that are away from the neck. Thereafter, the surgery is performed with the help of a robot. Its process remains the same as that of conventional thyroid surgery. However, robotic thyroidectomy is conventionally more aesthetic compared to conventional surgery.


What is Robotic Thyroidectomy?

Robotic thyroidectomy is a special surgical procedure that is centred on the concept of the axillary approach. In contrast to the conventional approach, it uses a different method to access the thyroid gland in it. Unlike conventional thyroid surgery, which involves a visible scar in the neck region due to an incision at the crease of the neck, robotic thyroidectomy involves the use of an under-arm incision for accessing the thyroid region.


More importantly, it involves the use of a robot. Though it is the robot that performs the surgery, it receives instructions from a surgeon and translates them into action.


The length of the under-arm incision is 5-7 cm long and it is not visible. In addition, a 5mm long incision is also used in the chest region in a robotic thyroidectomy. This form of surgery involving a robot has a high rate of success and it can be attributed to the DaVinci Surgical System.


How Robotic Thyroidectomy Works

A robotic thyroidectomy revolves around the concept of using a DaVinci system which involves the following aspects:

  • Four robotic hands: Robotic hands work like the hands of the human body. They twist, turn, and grab things with ease. Robotic hands perform these tasks with finesse, despite being small in size. They enable a surgeon to make movements with precision.
  • 3D camera: A surgeon who performs thyroid surgery with the help of a robot needs good visibility of the thyroid. A 3D camera helps fulfil this requirement. It provides magnified images of the thyroid up to 10 times with multiple zoom features. They get a detailed look at the thyroid with the help of a 3D camera which helps them perform a thyroid surgery with precision and finesse.
  • Console: The console is the system that helps a surgeon control the four robotic hands by seeing the images from a 3D camera.


The incisions used in robotic thyroidectomy are used for inserting the camera. By seeing the images transmitted by the inserted camera, a surgeon performs their thyroid operation according to the requirements of a patient.


The arms of a DaVinci robot do not move on their own as they are not programmed beforehand to do so during a thyroid operation. Instead, they follow the instructions of a surgeon who supervises a thyroid operation. They (the surgeon) remain responsible for giving inputs as well as making decisions. The robotic arms act according to the surgeon’s instructions.


The Cost of Robotic Surgery

The cost of robotic surgery, on average, ranges somewhere between INR 1,70,000 and INR 4,75,000. This is the general cost of robotic surgery. The actual cost of robotic surgery for prostate and other specific surgeries may vary from one provider to the other. 


Robotic Surgery Pros and Cons

Though robotic surgery is a revolutionary form of surgery, it also has many pros and cons just like other forms of surgery. The advantages and drawbacks of undergoing it include the ones given below.


The advantages of the surgery include the following:

  • It does not leave any scar in the neck region following an incision.
  • Through a 3D camera, it provides detailed images of the thyroid which makes it easy for a surgeon to examine the thyroid of a patient’s body and perform their operation with finesse.
  • The magnified images of the thyroid provide a crystal-clear view of the recurrent laryngeal and other key organs which is one of the key requirements for performing a thyroid surgery with finesse.
  • It involves the use of some non-invasive techniques which makes it more comfortable for patients than conventional surgery.
  • It facilitates the detection of the RLN and in conducting absolute thyroidectomy.


As regards the disadvantages of the surgery, its only downside is that it cannot be used for all patients. Your doctor will take into account your current health and other factors to decide its feasibility. 



Robotic thyroidectomy adds a fresh approach or dimension to thyroid surgery by giving the patients an option to avoid scars in the neck region. Instead of the neck region, a surgeon makes an incision under the arm. This not only helps prevent scars but also allows a surgeon to take a detailed look at the thyroid. Better visibility allows a surgeon to perform their thyroid operation with dexterity.


Dr. Deepak Sarin
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