Keith Forwith

Innovative Thyroid Surgeon

The Myth of The Mini Incision

Recently there has been a trend towards shorter and shorter incisions which sounds like a desirable outcome from thyroid surgery. However, sometimes small incisions can be highly visible because of the degree of scarring. The amount of tension that is put on the incision if the incision is made too small can result in prominent scarring. There are several examples of celebrities who have had mini incisions and yet you can see a small worm-like scar in the middle of the neck easily from across the room. In thyroid surgery, most patients desire a less noticeable scar and so care must be taken not to put the incision under excess tension during the surgery. This reduces scarring and noticeability in the end. A short scar is nothing to be proud of if it’s highly visible. I became sensitive to this when I was in college. When I was a sophomore and had no medical knowledge or insight, I had a lymph node removed from my neck. Thankfully, it turned out benign, but I was left with a highly visible, short scar. I was surprised at how often people asked about that scar. I was often shocked when people I just met would ask me why I had my surgery. While my lymph node surgery wasn’t a secret, I was often put off by people asking about it so often. I certainly would have liked a more meticulous and careful surgeon. On the positive side, that scar has given me great motivation to perfect my craft and I’m sure has made me a much better surgeon. So, perhaps I should thank that careless general surgeon who set me on this path!