The thyroid is a gland in the neck that produces hormones responsible for regulating the body’s metabolism. Too much or too little hormone can cause serious medical complications. The hormone levels are typically managed by a primary care physician or endocrinologist. The thyroid can also enlarge, develop nodules or cancerous lesions within it. In cases such as these, thyroid surgery may be an option for treatment.
Thyroid Gland Removal
When thyroid cancer has been detected or suspected, or an otherwise benign thyroid nodule grows so large it causes problems with swallowing or breathing, and in some cases hyperthyroidism (a disorder in which excess thyroid hormone is produced) does not respond to treatment with medications or radioactive iodine, surgery may be necessary.
Thyroid surgery is known as a thyroidectomy. Typical procedures performed include: a total thyroidectomy to remove the entire gland or thyroid lobectomy to remove half of the gland.
After total thyroidectomy, lifetime thyroid hormone replacement will be necessary.
Effectiveness of Thyroid Surgery
The effectiveness of any surgical thyroid procedure depends on the type of cancer present and how much it has spread.
Overall, the surgery is considered safe, but may lead to complications that include injury to the vocal cords and larynx (which could cause hoarseness, changes in the voice and problems speaking or swallowing), injury to the parathyroid glands (which could cause hypoparathyroidism, a separate condition in which too little parathyroid hormone is produced), difficulty breathing and the usual risks associated with most surgical procedures (bleeding and infection).
Call Texas ENT & Allergy at (877) 377-4368 for more information or to schedule an appointment.