Recent technological innovations are facilitating new approaches to surgery of the thyroid gland, including minimally invasive approaches that have the added advantage of allowing the surgeon to avoid drains, thus enabling outpatient surgery. Laryngeal nerve monitoring may be a useful adjunct in identification of the recurrent laryngeal nerve, particularly for the low-volume endocrine surgeon. Endoscopic surgical techniques allow improved visualization and permit thyroidectomy to be performed through small incisions, often less than 3 cm, which may improve cosmetic outcomes. Finally, surgical robotics, with the promise of further enhanced visualization and surgical dexterity better than that possible with traditional endoscopic approaches, may have future applications to thyroid surgery.
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