Thyroid Disease Thyroid Surgery

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Thyroid Disease

Thyroid disorders are conditions that affect the thyroid gland: a butterfly-shaped gland in the front of the neck. The thyroid gland secretes hormones that have important roles in regulating numerous metabolic processes throughout the body. Different types of thyroid disorders affect either its structure or function.

People with thyroid disease may feel a lump on their throat or have a generalised swelling at the front of their neck called a Goitre. If your doctor doesn’t think that medications can treat your tyroid disease, or he/she suspects cancer, he/she will refer you to Dr. Marr for further investigations to make a diagnosis. You might be sent for a CT scan, MRI scan or an ultrasound of your neck depending on your signs and symptoms.

Thyroid Surgery

Thyroid surgery is used to treat thyroid nodules, thyroid cancer and, ocassionally, hyperthyroidism. During surgery, an incision is made in the skin of the throat. The muscle and other tissues are pulled aside to expose the thyroid gland and then part of (partial thyroidectomy), half of (hemi-thyroidectomy) or the full thyroid gland (thyroidectomy) is removed.

When surgery is used for hyperthyroidism, it is generally because the thyroid gland is so big that it makes swallowing or breathing difficult or because thyroid cancer has been diagnosed or is suspected. Surgery also may be done if you are pregnant or cannot tolerate anti-thyroid medicines. The success of a thyroidectomy to remove thyroid cancer depends on the type of cancer and whether it has spread (metastasized) to other parts of the body. You may need follow-up treatment to help prevent the cancer from returning, or to treat cancer that has spread.

Frequently Asked Questions

When will I leave the hospital?

Many people leave the hospital a day or two after surgery. How much time you spend in the hospital and how fast you recover depends on your age and general health, the extent of the surgery, and whether cancer is present.

What are the risks?

Thyroid surgery is generally a safe surgery. But there is a risk of complications which includes hoarseness or change of voice, and hypoparathyroidism. Hypoparathyroidism can occur if the parathyroid glands are mistakenly removed or damaged during a total thyroidectomy.