Endocrine Head & Neck Surgery

Stanford Head & Neck Center

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(650) 498-6000

Scarless Thyroidectomy

Why Scarless Thyroidectomy?

Traditional thyroid surgery is performed through an incision in the neck that leaves a visible scar. Recent improvements in technology and instrumentation have allowed for the removal of the thyroid gland through small incisions inside in the lower lip. This is the only thyroidectomy procedure that leaves no external scar – no one will know you had thyroid surgery! This minimally invasive approach is an ideal option for patients with tendencies for keloid or unsightly scarring, or who would rather not bear a constant reminder of their surgery.

How Does it Work?

1. The transoral endoscopic vestibular approach to thyroidectomy allows for removal of part or all of the thyroid gland through 3 small incisions inside the lower lip.

2. The instruments are passed through these incisions and tunneled underneath the skin to the neck.

3. High definition cameras provide sharp and magnified images that permit the surgeon to work with the utmost precision and protect vital structures.

When surgery is finished, you awake with dissolvable stitches and no scar on the neck.

Am I a Candidate?

Patients needing thyroid or parathyroid surgery may be eligible for a scarless approach. Ideal candidates usually have one of the following:

Small thyroid cancers (<2cm) with no spread to lymph nodes

Benign or indeterminate thyroid nodules

An overactive parathyroid gland causing hyperparathyroidism

Select patients with Graves’ disease or goiter

We want you to have the best possible outcome, and are very thoughtful in offering this approach to our patients. We evaluate each person thoroughly and will discuss candidacy with you during your appointment.

What to Expect After Surgery

The 3 small incisions inside the mouth are closed with dissolvable stitches that do not need to be removed. Typically, patients are allowed to go home either the same day, or the day after surgery. You will be provided with a dressing to wear under the chin and instructions on neck exercises to prevent stiffness. Swelling and bruising of the lower lip and chin are common and usually resolve within 7-10 days. Soft foods are recommended for the first 2 days, then you may resume your normal diet. It is important to keep your mouth clean between meals.