83rd Annual Meeting of the American Thyroid Association:

Minimally Invasive Video-assisted Thyroidectomy in Obese Patients

Obesity is common in the United States (US) affecting approximately 30% of the population. A patient who is obese (eg, high body mass index [BMI]) and requires cervical endocrine surgery (eg, thyroidectomy) is at higher risk for urinary and wound complications.1 Furthermore, these patients may require more anesthesia, and the duration of surgery is likely to be longer compared to a patient who is not obese.1

Since 2005, endoscopic thyroidectomy—also called Minimally Invasive Video-assisted Thyroidectomy (MIVAT) has been performed by many surgeons in the US. MIVAT offers many benefits, such as tissue-sparing techniques, less post-operative pain, shorter recovery times, and smaller incisions that are easier to hide.

Researchers from the Georgia Regents University in Augusta "sought to determine the relationship between obesity and the risk of complications in patients undergoing MIVAT." They presented their findings at the American Thyroid Association's annual meeting on Saturday, October 19, 2013.2

About the Study
All thyroid surgeries performed from January 2006 through June 2012 were reviewed. Cases of MIVAT were isolated from the prospectively maintained database. Patients were split into 3 BMI groups using the National Institutes of Health's obesity classification.

The number of complications in each group was identified and compared. Two-hundred and thirty-eight MIVATs were performed on 228 patients. The Mean BMI was 25.5 kg/m2.


Normal BMI:

24.9 kg/m2

Overweight BMI:

25-29.9 kg/m2

Obese BMI:

30 kg/m2

Number of procedures




Percent of total (238)








  Complications Included

  • 1 case of cellulitis (0.4%)
  • 6 cases of temporary hypocalcemia (2%)*
  • 6 cases of transient recurrent laryngeal nerve weakness (2%)*
*Not permanent

Further Analysis

The researchers combined the overweight and obese groups into a "high BMI group" and statistically analyzed the group using simple logistic regression models. They found no significant difference between the high BMI and normal BMI groups.

In this study, overweight and obese patients who underwent MIVAT were not at increased risk for surgical complications.

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