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Robotic thyroidectomy versus endoscopic thyroidectomy: a meta-analysis

Shuang Lin1, Zhi-Heng Chen1, Hong-Gang Jiang1 and Ji-Ren Yu2*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Oncological surgery, First Affiliated Hospital of Jiaxing University, Jiaxing, 314000, Zhejiang Province, China

2 Department of Surgery, First Affiliated Hospital, Medical College, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, 310003, Zhejiang Province, China

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World Journal of Surgical Oncology 2012, 10:239  doi:10.1186/1477-7819-10-239

Published: 9 November 2012



To conduct a meta-analysis to determine the relative merits of robotic thyroidectomy (RT) and endoscopic thyroidectomy (ET).


A literature search was performed to identify comparative studies reporting peri-operative outcomes for RT and ET. Pooled odds ratios (ORs) and weighted mean differences (WMDs) with 95% confidence interval (95% CI) were calculated using either a fixed-effects or a random-effects model.


Six studies matched the selection criteria, which reported on 2048 subjects, of whom 978 underwent RT and 1070 underwent ET. Comparing the outcomes of RT with ET, this meta-analysis indicated that RT was associated with more complications (WMD = 1.51, 95% CI 1.18 to 1.94) and greater amount of drainage fluid (WMD = 17.10, 95% CI 5.69 to 28.51). Meanwhile, operating time (WMD = 1.50, 95% CI −39.59 to 42.58), conversion (WMD = 0.63, 95% CI 0.07 to 6.17), post-operative hospital stay (WMD = −0.05; 95% CI −0.18 to 0.08), and the number of lymph nodes harvested (WMD = 0.62, 95% CI −0.29 to 1.53) were similar for both procedures.


The results of this meta-analysis indicated that RT is associated with an increased risk of complications and a greater amount of drainage fluid. Therefore, RT does not appear to have any advantage over ET. Further studies are required to confirm these results.

Robotic thyroidectomy; Endoscopic thyroidectomy; Da Vinci robotic system; Meta-analysis