OBJECTIVES: To analyze the operative time, length of hospitalization and cost, as well as the bleeding and pain observed during the postoperative period, of thyroidectomy procedures using vessel sealing, harmonic scalpel or the conventional technique. METHODS: Retrospective analysis of thyroidectomies performed between 2007 and 2010 using either the conventional technique or minimally invasive techniques involving vessel sealing or a harmonic scalpel. Gender, age, primary diagnosis and procedure type were analyzed. The outcomes analyzed included the length of the procedure, length of hospital stay, need for blood product transfusions, pain and cost of hospitalization. The findings were based on a significance level of 5%, and statistical analyses were performed using the R software. RESULTS: The use of the vessel sealing increased the duration of the surgery by approximately 47 minutes compared to the conventional technique (p<0.001), and the use of the harmonic scalpel decreased the duration of the surgery by approximately 32 minutes compared to the conventional technique (p<0.001). No statistically significant difference was found between the groups regarding the use of blood products and pain score. Procedures involving vessel sealing or a harmonic scalpel cost more than those using the conventional technique. CONCLUSION: The use of harmonic scalpel was favorable in terms of reducing the surgical time, but there was no reduction in hospitalization time. The cost of the procedure was higher than that of the conventional technique. The use of vessel sealing offered no advantages in terms of the outcomes assessed, and the cost of the procedure was greater than that of the conventional technique.
Thyroidectomy; Health economics; Cost-effectiveness evaluation; Technology, high-cost