The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) on medical practitioners' agreement will become a reality in the year 2015. Doctors registered in one ASEAN country will be given reciprocal recognition in another country under this agreement. Rapid and excessive movement of human resources between countries in a short span of time is undesirable and can be destabilizing. The surgical fraternity in the ASEAN countries should plan for a common surgical curriculum, a common examination and an ASEAN Board of Surgery so that standards of future trainees in different countries are comparable. The curriculum should take into consideration the diversity of the countries in socio-economic development. Ideally, it should be based on a public health approach to bring affordable quality surgical care to the masses in an efficient and effective manner.
BACKGROUND: Identification and preservation of the recurrent laryngeal nerve (RLN) is of major concern in surgery of the thyroid gland. The purpose of this study was to review the surgical anatomy of the nerve and to describe its relationship to other important structures.
METHODS: A total of 325 patients were accrued in this prospective non-randomized study from January 1999 to December 2000. All patients who had total, subtotal and hemithyroidectomies were included in this study. Each side of the thyroid gland was considered as a separate unit in the analysis of the results.
RESULTS: Two hundred and seventy-six patients had thyroidectomies as their primary operation, while 49 patients had them as a reoperative procedure. There were 276 women and 46 men (6:1 female to male ratio) with a mean age of 43.1 years (range: 10-84 years). The total number of dissections was 502. The RLN was clearly identified in 491 (97.8%) dissections: single trunk in 323 dissections (65.8%), two extralaryngeal branches in 164 dissections (33.4%), and three extralaryngeal branches in three dissections (0.6%). One non-recurrent laryngeal nerve was encountered (0.2%) in the series. The proximity of the RLN to the inferior thyroid artery (ITA) was noted in 444 (90.4%) dissections: 372 (83.8%) nerves were described to be posterior and intertwined between the branches of the ITA, and in 72 (16.2%) RLNs, they were observed to be anterior to the ITA. The close association of RLN to an enlarged tubercle of Zuckerkandl was documented in 381 dissections (73.7%). A total of 231 RLNs (60.8%) was seen in the tracheoesophageal groove, 18 (4.9%) nerves were observed to be lateral to the trachea, and in 109 (28.3%), they were posterior in location. Of concern in 23 (6.0%) dissections the RLN was on the anterior surface of the thyroid gland, which is at highest risk of injury before curving down to pass behind the tubercle of Zuckerkandl. It appears that the anterior course of the RLN was seen more often in the reoperative procedures to the thyroid gland (20%).
CONCLUSIONS: Although various methods of localizing the RLN have been described, surgeons should be aware of the variations and have a thorough knowledge of normal anatomy in order to achieve a high standard of care. This will ensure the integrity and safety of the RLN in thyroid surgery. The anatomical variation may be minor in degree, but is of great importance as it may affect the outcome of the surgery and the patient's quality of life.
Breast ductal carcinoma in-situ (DCIS) is increasingly being diagnosed as a result of screening mammography and better pathological recognition. With this and the rising breast cancer incidence in Singapore, DCIS is poised to become a bigger part of surgical practice. Principles of screening, diagnosis and management of DCIS have also been rapidly evolving. Against this background, a clinicopathological audit of recent cases of DCIS in our centre was performed.
Injury to the external laryngeal branch of the superior laryngeal nerve during thyroid surgery is not uncommon. Most surgeons tend to avoid rather than expose and identify the external laryngeal nerve (ELN). The aim of the present study was to analyse the frequency and types of ELN crossing the avascular space in relationship to the structures to the upper pole of the thyroid and related thyroid pathology.
Abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) repairs are routine operations with low mortality in the developed world. There are few studies on the operative management of AAA in the Asian population.This study reports the initial results from a unit with no previous experience in this surgery by a single surgeon on completion of training.
Background: Sore throat is not an uncommon complaint following general anaesthesia (GA) with endotracheal intubation. It has been a source of considerable discomfort particularly in those patients who had thyroid surgery. Driven by the increased number of patients with post-intubation sore throat following thyroid surgery, the aim of the present study was to evaluate the contributing factors of sore throat in patients who had thyroid surgery under general anaesthesia.
Methods: A total of 57 consecutive patients who had thyroid surgery from November 1998 to April 1999 was included in this prospective study. Factors such as intubation time, number of intubation attempts, size and type of endotracheal tube (ETT) used, gender and age were recorded. The nature and extent of the surgical procedures were also studied. Postoperative symptoms were assessed by questionnaire on the day after surgery and the different parameters were compared and analysed.
Results: The incidence of post-intubation sore throat following thyroid surgery was documented in 39 (68.4%) patients. Twenty-seven (47.4%) patients had a mild complaint of sore throat, which resolved after the third day. The data from the present study show that the size of ETT and extent of surgical procedure were significant contributing factors affecting the postoperative recovery.
Conclusion: The outcome of the present study demonstrated a substantial increased incidence of sore throat after thyroid surgery under GA. Postoperative sore throat following thyroid surgery under GA may be caused by multiple contributing factors. Nonetheless effort and care should be taken during endotracheal intubation and surgery to reduce this unpleasant complaint arising mainly from pharyngeal irritation or trauma.
Abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) are common in the Caucasian population. Apart from reported differences in the occurrence of AAA in the black and white populations, there are few studies on the incidence of AAA in the Asian population.
BACKGROUND: Thyroid surgery is usually performed under general anaesthesia. However, for a selected group of patients, local anaesthesia may be preferable. The aim of this study was to review the authors' experiences with local anaesthesia with regard to the safety and outcome of this approach.
METHODS: A total of 65 consecutive patients who underwent primary thyroid surgery were accrued prospectively into this study from May to December 1999. A field block with 0.5% bupivacaine and adrenaline in 1:200 000 dilutions was given in all cases. In addition, light sedative and narcotics were given as necessary to achieve patient comfort and cooperation. The pain experienced during surgery was recorded using a visual analogue scoring system on a scale of 1-10.
RESULTS: Unilateral thyroid resection was performed in 58 patients, isthmectomy in four patients and bilateral thyroid resection in three patients, two of which were in their second trimester of pregnancy diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer. There were 55 women and 10 men with an average age of 38.2 years (range: 18-67 years). No conversion to general anaesthetic was needed, and the mean operating time was 80 min. The postoperative recovery was quick with this technique and, of interest, 22 (33.9%) patients were discharged within 6 h following the surgery. Overall 62 (95.4%) patients were discharged in the first 24 h and three (4.6%) patients after 24 h. There were no significant postoperative complications encountered except for wound infection in two (3.1%) patients.
CONCLUSIONS: Thyroid surgery under local anaesthesia can be performed safely in a selected group of patients. It offers an effective alternative approach to general anaesthesia and is associated with low morbidity and high levels of patient satisfaction.
Antibiotics are often administered in elective colorectal surgery to prevent wound infection. The tendency for surgeons to prolong the administration of prophylactic antibiotic therapy in the postoperative period is a well-known fact. The aim of this study was to elucidate the pattern of prophylactic antibiotic utilization in elective colorectal surgery and to determine if evidence-based medicine is employed in relation to this practice.