Energy-based devices for hemostasis in thyroid surgery

Aleksander Konturek, Bartłomiej Szpyra, Małgorzata Stopa-Barczyńska, Marcin Barczyński


The evolution of operative techniques in thyroid surgery that has taken place over the past several decades would not have been possible if not for a sui generis revolution in surgery at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. The three most important events of the end of the 19th century, i.e., the introduction of anesthesia, the use of artery forceps and ligation of blood vessels, as well as prophylactic management of perioperative infections decidedly affected the improvement of therapeutic results of thyroid surgery. Surgical treatment of thyroid diseases is associated with the possibility of complications developing, of which bleeding is among the most serious ones, starting from the need for an immediate reoperation and ending at a considerable damage to functionally important structures: the laryngeal nerves and parathyroid glands. The consensus reached between the development of science and progress in modern technologies has provided the basis for introducing and popularizing minimally invasive procedures, including operations using the approach through natural body openings. Such an unprecedented development of surgical techniques would not be possible without devices for closing blood vessels. Given the mechanism of hemostasis, current vascular sealing devices can generally be divided into three groups: ultrasonic, bipolar- radiofrequency and hybrid systems combining both energy modalities. While analyzing the innovative, advanced technology of all the energy-based devices, it should be stated that only if they are used in a safe manner, quality of life of patients with various thyroid conditions is improved. The employment of such devices fully confirms their usefulness; nevertheless, all the advantages should never release the surgeon from the obligation to appropriately and safely identify the surrounding structures and let him uncritically use the new device.