COLUMBUS, Ohio – With just a small incision in the patient’s armpit, cancer surgeon Dr. Enver Ozer performs robotic-assisted surgery to remove a diseased thyroid without leaving a visible scar on the patient’s neck.
Only about 35 medical centers nationwide offer such minimally invasive robotic thyroidectomies, and Ozer, a head and neck cancer surgeon at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC-James), is the first in central Ohio to perform the procedure.
“A major benefit of this type of surgery is that it doesn’t leave a scar on the patient’s neck,” said Ozer. “A typical open surgery to remove the thyroid can leave a visible scar up to 3 inches long on the base of the neck. But this surgery involves a small hidden incision in the armpit, without any neck incision. We make a small tunnel under the skin to the thyroid area and remove the thyroid through the tunnel.”
Robotic-assisted surgeries use small incisions for instrumentation and for a miniature camera. The surgeon performs the surgery by manipulating the robotic instrumentation while seated at a console and looking through a viewfinder at magnified images transmitted from inside the patient’s body via the miniature camera.
Such minimally invasive techniques involve fewer incisions, less blood loss, less pain, and shorter hospital stays and recovery times, said Ozer, who specializes in otolaryngology, head and neck surgery and robotic-assisted surgery. He adds that most patients are discharged from the hospital within one to three days.
Robotic assisted surgery using the da Vinci robot has been performed for years for heart, prostate and gynecologic conditions. Ohio State surgeons were the first in North America to perform a robotic-assisted procedure with the da Vinci robot.
Ozer is one of 25 skilled surgeons at Ohio State’s Center for Advanced Robotic Surgery, an international training center featuring expertise in more than 70 robotic procedures for more than 25 different conditions, including complex cases, said center co-director Dr. Ronney Abaza.
Ozer is also one of the charter members of the Society of Robotic Surgery, which is a global society founded on the fundamental principles of education and collaboration as a means to tackle the complex issues of robotic surgery.
Ohio State physicians perform about 1,200 robotic surgeries a year.
Ohio State has the most experienced robotic surgical team in Ohio and offers the most comprehensive robotics program with expertise in heart, head and neck, gynecologic and urologic robotic surgery for both malignant and benign conditions.
The American Cancer Society estimates that about 38,000 cases of thyroid cancer will be diagnosed in the United States this year, and about 1,600 people will die from this disease. In general this is one of the least deadly cancers, and usually affects younger people between the ages of 25 and 55.
The chance of being diagnosed with thyroid cancer has risen slightly in recent years, likely because of the increased use of thyroid ultrasound, which detects small thyroid nodules that might not otherwise have been found, according to the American Cancer Society.
The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (cancer.osu.edu) is one of only 40 Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the United States designated by the National Cancer Institute. Ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 20 cancer hospitals in the nation, The James is the 180-bed adult patient-care component of the cancer program at The Ohio State University. The OSUCCC-James is one of only seven funded programs in the country approved by the NCI to conduct both Phase I and Phase II clinical trials.
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Medical Center Communications