Risks And Side Effects Of Thyroid Surgery
Complications are less likely to happen when your operation is done by an experienced thyroid surgeon. Patients who have thyroid surgery are often ready to leave the hospital within a day after the operation. Potential complications of thyroid surgery include:
- Temporary or permanent hoarseness or loss of voice. This can happen if the larynx or windpipe is irritated by the breathing tube that was used during surgery. It may also occur if the nerves to the larynx are damaged during surgery. The doctor should examine your vocal cords before surgery to see if they move normally.
- Damage to the parathyroid glands . This can lead to low blood calcium levels, causing muscle spasms and feelings of numbness and tingling.
- Excessive bleeding or formation of a major blood clot in the neck
How Do You Detect Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism is diagnosed with a blood test. Most commonly, your provider will check your level of thyroid stimulating hormone as a screening tool. A high TSH level means there is not enough thyroid hormone in your blood. The brain is sending signals to the thyroid to make more. Depending on the results, your doctor might order another blood test to check a full thyroid panel or test for autoimmunity.
In most labs, the normal range for TSH is 0.4 mU/L to 4.0 mU/L. A TSH higher than 4.0 mU/L could mean hypothyroidism. Lower than 0.4 mU/L points to hyperthyroidism. In pregnancy, the range is lower. With older age, the range is higher.
Thyroid Medication Is Overprescribed
A subset of people who take thyroid hormone replacement would likely be better off without this medication, as overdiagnosis of hypothyroid conditions is very common.
One study showed up to 60% of patients may be taking thyroid hormone replacement unnecessarily. In this study, 291 patients taking Levothyroxine were asked to pause their medication for 6-8 weeks. Many of these patients had been taking thyroid medication for years but did not have strong diagnostic indicators of thyroid disease.
- After going without synthetic thyroid hormone for several weeks, patients were given blood tests for thyroid function. 60.8% of patients had normal levels of thyroid hormone, meaning they did not require thyroid medication.
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Healthy Diet Means Healthy Living
If you want a healthy life a healthy diet is important. So, check what food you should eat and what foods to avoid if you have no thyroid.
There are few foods that you should avoid or eat at a moderate level. Foods like soy-based food, cruciferous vegetables , and processed foods may interfere with your thyroid medication. It can worsen your health.
Also, avoid sugar, saturated fat, and frozen foods to avoid weight gain.
What You Are Told
If you are diagnosed with thyroid cancer, your doctors will likely recommend a partial or a full thyroidectomy. A thyroidectomy means having your thyroid removed. When discussing the consequences of such a surgery they will likely tell you that:
- The surgery is safe with an overall complication rate of less than 8%, but if you are healthy and younger than 40 years old, this is likely to be far lower. Furthermore, if you have a surgeon that performs more than 25 thyroidectomies per year, the rate goes down significantly.
- Many people live long and fulfilling lives without their thyroid, but approximately 2000 people die from thyroid cancer each year. As a healthy young person, your risk of serious harm from the surgery is less than 0.1%. Why would you want to risk dying from cancer?
Youll read all of the literature they give you. All of it seems very reasonable. You are constantly reminded how lucky you are that surgeon So-and-so can fit you into her schedule, because she does so many of these a year.
I had my thyroid removed in 2014. There were additional resources on the internet, but when searching things like thyroidectomy and surgery complications and recovery and after the surgery and scar, I didnt find any horror stories. I hadnt yet realized that it wasnt the surgery I shouldve been worrying about.
Also Check: Graves Disease After Total Thyroidectomy
How Much Of My Thyroid Gland Needs To Be Removed
Your surgeon should explain the planned thyroid operation, such as lobectomy or total thyroidectomy, and the reasons why such a procedure is recommended.
For patients with papillary or follicular thyroid cancer, many, but not all, surgeons recommend total or neartotal thyroidectomy when they believe that subsequent treatment with radioactive iodine might be necessary. For patients with larger or more invasive cancers and for patients with medullary thyroid cancer, local lymph node dissection may be necessary to remove possibly involved lymph node metastases.
A hemithyroidectomy may be recommended for overactive solitary nodules or for benign onesided nodules that are causing local symptoms such as compression, hoarseness, shortness of breath or difficulty swallowing. A total or near total thyroidectomy may be recommended for patients with Graves Disease or for patients with large multinodular goiters.
Your Metabolism Regulates Your Vitality
Metabolism is your bodys ability to make biological energy. This is a complex process that begins in the fetus and continues until the day you die. A number of chemical processes allow your body to convert food into energy. As thyroid hormone in your blood increases, so also does your metabolism. If your metabolism decreases, your body slows down these chemical processes to conserve energy.
Metabolism regulates many aspects of our health, such as:
- Body temperature
- Respiratory system and lung function
- Ability to concentrate and stay alert
- Digestive and bowel function
Hypothyroidism is a condition where your thyroid gland doesnt produce enough thyroid hormone to maintain your bodys proper metabolic function. In the absence of proper thyroid levels, your body will work to conserve energy. Returning to the analogy of an orchestra, when a conductor is absent, the orchestra members will simply wait for his return. Members of the orchestra are not permitted to play at their own tempo the conductor always governs them.
Also Check: Does Levothyroxine Give You Energy
Life Expectancy Without A Thyroid
Life expectancy without a thyroid is one concerning issue for a thyroid patient. The good news is an underactive thyroid, or no-thyroid, does not reduce or shorten your life expectancy. But for this, medication is crucial.
However, a study shows that age can affect your life span if you have thyroid cancer. A cancer patient over 45, especially over 60 years old, may face a reduced life span. However, if you are younger than 45, stop worrying about a decreased life.
Nevertheless, one study shows that people with low thyroid function live up to 3.5 years longer overall. In addition, they may live 3.1 years more without cardiovascular disease than people with high or normal thyroid.
Day Before Your Surgery
Note the time of your surgery
A staff member from the Admitting Office will call you after 2:00 pm the day before your surgery. If your surgery is scheduled for a Monday, theyll call you on the Friday before. If you dont get a call by 7:00 pm, call .
The staff member will tell you what time to arrive at the hospital for your surgery. Theyll also remind you where to go.
This will be one of the following locations:
- Josie Robertson Surgery Center
Instructions for eating before your surgery
Do not eat anything after midnight the night before your surgery. This includes hard candy and gum.
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How Do I Select A Surgeon
In general, thyroid surgery is best performed by a surgeon who has received special training and who performs thyroid surgery on a regular basis. The complication rate of thyroid operations is lower when the operation is done by a surgeon who does a large number of thyroid operations each year. Patients should ask their referring physician where he or she would go to have a thyroid operation or where he or she would send a family member.
What Are The Risks Of Thyroid Surgery
All surgery brings risk for complications like bleeding and infection. Thyroid surgery can also involve risks for damage to vocal cord nerves, which could cause hoarseness, and damage to your parathyroid glands, which are located behind and very close to your thyroid and regulate your bodys calcium levels.
Also Check: Is Thyroid Surgery Serious
Final Thoughts With Thyroid
How long can you go without thyroid medication? The simple answer is you should not go without your medication. Remember, thyroid disease is a life-long complicated condition. You can develop new symptoms right after the treatment started. The reason can be either the wrong medication dose or by discontinuation of the medication. Follow the schedule your endocrinologist prescribed and stick with the same brand. In that way, you can avoid the side effects of stopping thyroid medication.
I am Rubab Sikandar, and I have done MPhil in food and nutrition. I am a professional dietician and content writer. I always try to deliver the best content to the readers. It’s my passion to write on medical, health and fitness. Sharing is caring so I always share what I learned in my academic career.
The Morning Of Your Surgery
Instructions for drinking before your surgery
You can drink a total of 12 ounces of water between midnight and 2 hours before your scheduled arrival time. Do not drink anything else.Do not drink anything starting 2 hours before your scheduled arrival time. This includes water.
Take your medications as instructed
If your healthcare provider told you to take certain medications the morning of your surgery, take only those medications with a sip of water. Depending on what medications you take, this may be all, some, or none of your usual morning medications.
Things to remember
- Wear something comfortable and loose-fitting.
- Dont wear any lotion, cream, deodorant, makeup, powder, perfume, or cologne.
- Remove nail polish and nail wraps.
- If you wear contact lenses, wear your glasses instead. Wearing contact lenses during surgery can damage your eyes.
- Dont wear any metal objects. Remove all jewelry, including body piercings. The tools used during your surgery can cause burns if they touch metal.
- Leave valuable items at home.
- If youre menstruating , use a sanitary pad, not a tampon. Youll get disposable underwear, as well as a pad if needed.
What to bring
- Your Health Care Proxy form and other advance directives, if you completed them.
- Your cell phone and charger.
- A case for your personal items , dentures, prosthetic device, wig, and religious articles), if you have one.
- This guide. Your healthcare team will use it to teach you how to care for yourself after surgery.
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Side Effects Of Not Having A Thyroid
If you do not have a thyroid, your body is unable to produce any thyroid hormones. Therefore you may face some symptoms of hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism is a condition with a low thyroid hormone level. The symptoms include:
- Weight gain
To prevent this, you need thyroid replacement therapy.
You may ask, can you live without a thyroid without medication? The answer is No.
You may face a Myxedema coma. It is a severe and fatal consequence. You may face it if you do not continue your thyroid replacement therapy. Generally, it results from long-lasting hypothyroidism.
So, you must take your thyroid medicine for the rest of your life.
What Happens After Permanent Thyroid Treatment
After youve undergone radioactive iodine treatment or thyroidectomy, your body will be unable to produce thyroid hormones either in adequate amounts or at all. While this is preferable to thyroid overactivity, you may begin to experience symptoms of hypothyroidism such as fatigue, weight gain, cold sensitivity, dry skin and hair, slow heart rate, and high cholesterol.
To prevent these symptoms, you will be prescribed medications that supply your body with some combination of T4 and T3 hormones. Youll take these medications every day for the rest of your life. Thyroid hormone medications are easily accessible, relatively inexpensive, and commonly prescribed. With help from your hormone health practitioner, you will likely be able to reach a stable maintenance dose, which makes this a sustainable treatment option in the long term. When youre taking the correct medications at the right doses, you also shouldnt experience side effects, making them highly tolerable for most patients.
When Thyroid Removal Is Necessary
Many people do not prefer thyroid removal. The reasons are obvious: what happens to your body after your thyroid is removed? Will you die without a thyroid?
Removing the thyroid is indeed a permanent change to your body as well as your lifestyle. However, for some unavoidable reasons, your doctor may suggest thyroidectomy or thyroid removal surgery.
Thyroid cancer is one major reason you need a thyroidectomy. If you have thyroid cancer, it is important to destroy all cancerous tissues. So removing the entire thyroid is the best treatment in this case.
Overactive thyroid or hyperthyroidism sometimes requires total or partial removal of your thyroid. Uncontrolled excess hormones may cause severe damage to your body. It can affect your muscle, bones, cardiovascular systems, and your reproductive organs. Here, thyroidectomy is the only solution.
Thyroid nodules and thyroid goiters require thyroidectomy. If they raise the hormonal levels in your body or push against the esophagus and trachea you need surgery.
Not responding well to your medication? Sometimes this condition needs serious intervention like thyroidectomy for your total treatment.
Can You Live Without A Thyroid Gland
The thyroid gland is an essential organ. Your body relies on the hormones it produces to regulate your metabolism. Without those necessary hormones, you can develop hypothyroidism, leading to long-term complications if you do not get treatment.
In short, can you live without a thyroid? Yes, but you will need lifelong treatment with thyroid hormone replacement medication.
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Why Are Permanent Solutions Necessary
Many of us hesitate before making permanent changes to our bodiesand rightfully so. Why would it be necessary to permanently disable or remove the thyroid gland? In some cases, the truth is that it isnt a necessity, but a personal choice some people decide, for a variety of reasons, that radioactive iodine or thyroidectomy is preferable to other forms of treatment. In other cases, the individual may not respond well to other therapies, and serious intervention is necessary in order to prevent their condition from progressing.
The damage caused by an uncontrolled overactive thyroid can be extensive, affecting muscles, bones, cardiovascular system, and reproductive organs. Eliminating all or part of the thyroid is sometimes the only way to reduce these risks. Additionally, in the case of thyroid cancer, its often safer to remove the thyroid altogether to ensure all cancerous tissue is destroyed. Meanwhile, goiters and nodules often require surgery when they raise hormone levels or cause pressure on the esophagus and trachea. In other words, whether a permanent solution is a good option is largely dependent on the nature of your condition.
Hypothyroidism And The Thyroid
Those without a thyroid may feel that there is a severe lack of information regarding their condition. However, with increased prevalence of thyroid awareness and greater study conducted on hypothyroidism there is actually a great deal of information regarding their situation.
When ones thyroid is unable to produce adequate levels of thyroid hormones needed for proper bodily function, the individual is diagnosed with hypothyroidism. If a person is lacking a thyroid, there is no gland present to produce the necessary hormones. Therefore, they are considered hypothyroid. Regardless if a hypothyroid patient has their thyroid gland or not, the condition differs little.
Hypothyroidism promotes a wide range of symptoms that are frequently misconstrued as being caused by other conditions. Hypothyroid patients with or without a thyroid gland will likely experience some or all the following symptoms:
- Weight Gain
Although few differences exist when contrasting hypothyroidism with or without the thyroid gland there are some notable differences that are important to understand.
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How Long Can You Go Without Thyroid Medication
The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped organ at the base of your neck. Although small, this mighty organ controls several essential functions all over the body, including regulating cellular metabolism and managing growth and development. When the thyroid gland is not working correctly, the whole body can be affected.
Can You Live Without A Thyroid Answering Key Questions About Thyroid Treatment
When Robert was first diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, he felt a huge sense of relief. It gave him answers and a path forward, and he believed that medication would quickly get his hormones under control. He thought he was a few weeks from feeling back to his old self.
But despite daily oral antithyroid medications, his hyperthyroidismand his symptomspersisted, and he began considering more dramatic solutions. Using radioactive iodine or thyroidectomy, Roberts doctor would be able to permanently damage or surgically remove his thyroid, making overproduction of thyroid hormones impossible. But these seemed like drastic measures and he had a multitude of questions about the procedures, including the most basic of inquiries: can you live without a thyroid? Not just in terms of surviving, but in terms of quality of life? Was the cure truly better than hyperthyroidism itself?
Thesequestions are common amongst patients considering irreversible thyroidtreatment. To make the best decision about your health, youll want to considerthe answers carefully.