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Endoscopic thyroidectomy via bilateral axillo-breast approach (BABA): review of 512 cases in a single institute



Various techniques for endoscopic thyroidectomy have been introduced in the past decade, and the cosmetic superiority of these techniques has been universally acknowledged. We developed the endoscopic thyroidectomy via bilateral axillo-breast approach (BABA) and have performed more than 500 operations. The aims of this study are to analyze the surgical outcomes and to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of BABA endoscopic thyroidectomy.

Patients and methods

Between February 2004 and March 2008, 512 patients with thyroid diseases underwent BABA endoscopic thyroidectomy. The criteria analyzed were clinicopathologic characteristics, types of operation, operation time, tumor–node–metastasis (TNM) stage on the basis of the 7th edition of the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC), results after radioactive ablation therapy, and recurrence of disease in these patients.


Of 512 patients, 397 had a malignant tumor and 115 had benign thyroid disease. Eight patients were diagnosed with Graves’ disease, and nine patients underwent completion thyroidectomy. Three cases were subjected to open thyroidectomy due to uncontrolled bleeding. Mean operation time was 151.2 ± 38.1 min for total and near-total thyroidectomy, and 141.7 ± 50.1 min for subtotal thyroidectomy and lobectomy. Regarding postoperative complications, transient hypocalcemia occurred in 31.1% of patients and permanent hypoparathyroidism occurred in 4.2% of patients. Transient hoarseness occurred in 20.3% of patients, and permanent vocal cord palsy occurred in 1.7%. Mean hospital stay after operation was 3.34 ± 0.8 days (range 3–7 days), and mean follow-up period was 57.1 ± 17.6 months (range 38.5–71.7 months). There were eight cases of recurrent thyroid carcinoma, and no mortality has occurred up to the present time.


Endoscopic thyroidectomy via bilateral axillo-breast approach is a safe and effective method that gives good surgical completeness, a low rate of postoperative complications and recurrence, and an excellent cosmetic result. Therefore, this method is a good choice for patients with surgical thyroid diseases.

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June Young Choi, M.D., Kyu Eun Lee, M.D., Ki-Wook Chung, M.D., Jun-Ho Choe, M.D., Do Hoon Koo, M.D., Su-jin Kim, M.D., Jeonghun Lee, M.D., Yoo Seung Chung, M.D., Seung Keun Oh, M.D., and Yeo-Kyu Youn, M.D. have no conflicts of interest or financial ties to disclose.

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Correspondence to Yeo-Kyu Youn.

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Choi, J.Y., Lee, K.E., Chung, K. et al. Endoscopic thyroidectomy via bilateral axillo-breast approach (BABA): review of 512 cases in a single institute. Surg Endosc 26, 948–955 (2012).

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  • Endoscopic thyroidectomy
  • Bilateral axillo-breast approach
  • BABA endoscopic thyroidectomy