Article Abstract

Endoscopic and robotic parathyroidectomy in patients with primary hyperparathyroidism

Authors: Laurent Brunaud, Zhen Li, Klaas Van Den Heede, Thomas Cuny, Sam Van Slycke


Primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT) is one of the most common endocrine disorders for which parathyroidectomy is the most effective therapy. Until late 1970s, the standard approach to parathyroidectomy was a four-gland exploration using a large skin incision. However, 80 to 85 percent of cases of PHPT are caused by a single adenoma. As such, the concept of performing a bilateral exploration in order to visualize all four glands has been argued to be excessive since in the majority of cases, there is only one abnormal gland. Focused exploration (one gland) is currently the standard technique for parathyroidectomy worldwide. Despite a rapid acceptance of minimally invasive approaches in most endocrine surgery centers, the use of an endoscope with or without the use of a robotic system to perform parathyroidectomy remains controversial. The goal of this study was to review current available data about surgical approaches using an endoscope with or without the use of a robotic system in the management of patients with PHPT. For conventional endoscopic and video assisted parathyroidectomy, several comparative studies have demonstrated some advantages in terms of reduced postoperative pain, better cosmetic results and higher patient satisfaction compared to open non-endoscopic minimally invasive parathyroidectomy. Robot-assisted transaxillary parathyroidectomy has the advantage of leaving no scar in the neck but its role has not yet been delineated clearly given the limited number of published series. Subjective postoperative cosmetic evaluation is good by concealing the scar in the axilla or infraclavicular area. However, this approach is associated with more extensive dissection than during conventional open or endoscopic neck access surgical procedures. Patients with true ectopic mediastinal parathyroid glands are good candidates for conventional or robot-assisted thoracoscopic approaches because these glands are in remote and narrow anatomical locations.