Defining anatomical landmarks for robotic facelift thyroidectomy

Michael C. Singer, Andrew Heffernan, David J Terris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Robotic facelift thyroidectomy (RFT) is a straightforward remote access thyroidectomy technique. While the anatomy encountered during RFT is well known to surgeons, the vector of approach during this technique may be less familiar. In order to facilitate safe and efficient performance of RFT, the relationships of key anatomical landmarks associated with this technique were determined. Methods: Eight anatomical dissections were performed in cadavers and included performance of RFT and definition of discrete anatomical relationships. Morphologic assessments of the great auricular nerve (GAN), omohyoid (OH) muscle, inferior constrictor (IC) muscle, and recurrent laryngeal nerve (RLN) were conducted. Results: The mean distance from the incision apex to the anterior and posterior aspects of the GAN were 3.8 ± 1.2 and 7.7 ± 0.8 cm. From the apex of the incision to the OH muscle was 11.1 ± 1.7 cm on average. The OH muscle was located 1.3 ± 0.5 cm inferior to an axial line drawn through the inferior aspect of the thyroid notch. The anterior branch of the RLN was identified coursing deep to the inferior margin of the IC muscle a mean of 1.2 ± 0.2 cm lateral to the origin of this muscle on the cricoid cartilage. Conclusions: Characterization of the key anatomical landmarks of the lateral neck and thyroid compartment associated with RFT, including the GAN, OH muscle, and RLN, allows for rapid recognition of these critical structures during this operation. Surgeons learning this approach should be familiar with these relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)92-95
Number of pages4
JournalWorld Journal of Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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