Objective: The objective of this study was to evaluate the feasibility and safety of performing an endoscopic thyroidectomy (ETE) via a retroauricular approach. Methods: Forty-seven patients who underwent ETE via a retroauricular approach were included, and a total of 47 patients who underwent conventional open thyroid lobectomy in the same period were analyzed as a control group. All patients underwent prospective functional evaluations before the operation and 1 week, and 1, 3, 6, and 12 months postoperatively using a comprehensive battery of functional assessments. Results: The mean total operative time was 152 ± 48 min, with a mean endoscopic procedure time of 58 ± 18 min. One patient developed temporary vocal fold paralysis. Although most of the parameters for the functional outcome were worse in the ETE group, these differences were transient. Subjective worsening on the voice handicap index and dysphagia handicap index normalized by 3 months postoperatively. The average pain score on a visual analog scale at 1 week after surgery was 2.84, representing a tolerable range of discomfort. The mean paresthesia/hyperesthesia score was worse in the ETE group than the open surgery group by postoperative month 6; however, these differences eventually disappeared. Thirty-six of the 47 patients in the ETE group were satisfied or extremely satisfied with the retroauricular incision by 6 months after surgery. Conclusions: ETE via a retroauricular approach is a safe, feasible, and cosmetically desirable treatment option, with outcomes comparable to conventional open thyroidectomy in the longer term.
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