Bilateral axillo-breast approach robotic thyroidectomy: review of evidences
The bilateral axillo-breast approach (BABA) is one of the most popular contemporary remoteaccess thyroidectomy techniques. While the initial experiences with BABA endoscopic thyroidectomy (ET) were associated with some technical challenges and safety concerns, many limitations of the technique could now be substantially overcome by BABA robotic thyroidectomy (RT). In this review, the current literature evidences of BABA RT were analyzed. Data regarding the patient selection, the learning curve, and the comparison with open thyroidectomy (OT) and BABA ET were examined. Careful case selection for BABA RT should be undertaken according to factors related to the patient and the thyroid pathology. The learning curve of BABA RT was about 40 cases. Comparing to OT, BABA RT was comparable to OT for the complication profiles and most perioperative outcomes. But it was associated with longer operative time, higher cost and possibly inferior oncological control with lower number of central lymph node (LN) retrieved. When compared to BABA ET, BABA RT was comparable for most perioperative outcomes except longer operative time and higher cost. Yet, BABA RT was superior to BABA ET for better oncological control. BABA RT is a safe and effective procedure for most benign thyroid conditions and low-risk differentiated thyroid cancers (DTC).