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What Happens If Your Thyroid Is Removed

Other Options To Enhance Your Thyroid

What supplements should you take if you have your thyroid removed?

Are there any other things you can do to boost thyroid function after your thyroid has been removed?

The answer is maybe.;

Even though you don’t have a thyroid gland, your body still needs certain nutrients and vitamins to help your thyroid function.;

Nutrients such as iodine are still important, even if you don’t have a thyroid gland!

While the majority of iodine is stored in your thyroid gland, other cells in your body also use iodine.;

In addition, nutrients such as Selenium and Zinc can also help aid in T4 to T3 conversion in your body.;

This is true even if you can’t produce thyroid hormone on your own and even if you are taking thyroid medication by mouth.;

Your goal when taking supplements should be to ensure that you have an adequate amount of these nutrients so your thyroid can function as close to 100% as possible.;

Even small deficiencies in these nutrients may further reduce your thyroid function and lead to symptoms.;

You can also use others, but ensure that they have the right ingredients!;

Why Might I Need A Thyroidectomy

A thyroidectomy may be appropriate for people who have a thyroid tumor, thyroid nodules;or hyperthyroidism, which occurs when the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone.

Hyperthyroidism can be the result of an autoimmune problem, too much iodine in the diet, a benign tumor in the pituitary gland, too much thyroid medication, a swelling in the thyroid gland or an inflammatory process.

Will I Need To Take A Thyroid Pill After My Operation

The answer to this depends on how much of the thyroid gland is removed. If half thyroidectomy is performed, there is an 80% chance you will not require a thyroid pill UNLESS you are already on thyroid medication for low thyroid hormone levels or have evidence that your thyroid function is on the lower side in your thyroid blood tests. If you have your entire gland removed or if you have had prior thyroid surgery and now are facing removal of the remaining thyroid then you have no internal source of thyroid hormone remaining and you will definitely need lifelong thyroid hormone replacement.

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What Kind Of Treatment Will I Need

There are many ways to treat thyroid cancer but surgery is the main treatment. The treatment plan thats best for you will depend on:

  • The stage of the cancer
  • The chance that a type of treatment will cure the cancer or help in some way
  • Your age
  • Other health problems you have
  • Your feelings about the treatment and the side effects that come with it

Depending on the type and stage of your thyroid cancer, you may need more than 1 type of treatment.

What Is Thyroid Hormone Replacement Therapy

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Thyroid hormone therapy is the use of manmade thyroid hormones to raise abnormally low levels of natural thyroid hormones in the body. Thyroid hormone is usually given in pill form and is often used to treat an underactive thyroid that is secreting little or no thyroid hormones. The most commonly prescribed thyroid hormone replacement is pure synthetic thyroxine .

The following specialists perform a thyroidectomy:

  • Otolaryngologists specialize in the treatment of diseases and conditions of the ears, nose and throat.

  • General surgeons specialize in the surgical treatment of a wide variety of diseases, disorders and conditions.

  • Pediatric otolaryngologists specialize in the treatment of diseases and conditions of the ears, nose and throat in infants, children and adolescents.

Also Check: How To Get Rid Of Thyroid Swelling

Days Before Your Surgery

Follow your healthcare providers instructions for taking aspirin

If you take aspirin or a medication that contains aspirin, you may need to change your dose or stop taking it 7 days before your surgery. Aspirin can cause bleeding.

Follow your healthcare providers instructions. Dont stop taking aspirin unless they tell you to. For more information, read the resource Common Medications Containing Aspirin, Other Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs , or Vitamin E.

Stop taking vitamin E, multivitamins, herbal remedies, and other dietary supplements

Stop taking vitamin E, multivitamins, herbal remedies, and other dietary supplements 7 days before your surgery. These things can cause bleeding. For more information, read the resource Herbal Remedies and Cancer Treatment.

How Do I Prepare For My Thyroidectomy

You are an important member of your own healthcare team. The steps you take before surgery can improve your comfort and outcome.

You can prepare for a thyroidectomy by:

  • Answering all questions about your medical history and medications. This includes prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, herbal treatments, and vitamins. It is a good idea to carry a current list of your medical conditions, medications, and allergies at all times.

  • Getting preoperative testing as directed. Testing varies depending on your age, health, and specific procedure. Preoperative testing may include a , other imaging studies, a fine-needle biopsy, a swallow study, , flexible laryngoscopy , blood tests, and other tests as needed.

  • Losing excess weight before the surgery through a healthy diet and exercise plan

  • Not eating or drinking before surgery as directed. Your surgery may be cancelled if you eat or drink too close to the start of surgery because you can choke on stomach contents during anesthesia.

  • Stopping as soon as possible. Even quitting for just a few days can be beneficial and help the healing process.

  • Taking or stopping medications exactly as directed. This may include not taking aspirin, ibuprofen , and blood thinners. You may also need to take thyroid medications or iodine treatments for a couple of weeks before your thyroidectomy.

Questions to ask your doctor

It is also a good idea to bring a list of questions to your appointments. Questions can include:

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Doctor Visits And Follow

Your health care team will explain what tests you need and how often they should be done. Your schedule of doctor visits, exams, and tests will depend on the original extent of your cancer, the specific type of thyroid cancer you had, how it was treated, and other factors.

Papillary or follicular cancer: If you have had papillary or follicular cancer, and your thyroid gland has been completely removed or ablated, your doctors may consider at least one radioactive iodine scan after treatment, especially if you are at higher risk for recurrence. This is usually done about 6 to 12 months later. If the result is negative, you will generally not need further scans unless you have symptoms or other abnormal test results.

Your blood will also be tested regularly for TSH and thyroglobulin levels. Thyroglobulin is made by thyroid tissue, so after total thyroid removal and ablation it should be at very low levels or not be found in your blood at all. If the thyroglobulin level begins to rise, it might be a sign the cancer is coming back, and further testing will be done. This usually includes a radioactive iodine scan, and may include PET scans and other imaging tests.

For those with a low-risk, small papillary cancer that was treated by removing only one lobe of the thyroid, routine physical exams by your doctor, thyroid ultrasounds and thyroid blood tests are typical.

How Is Thyroid Surgery Performed

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Thyroid surgery takes place in a hospital. Its important not to eat or drink anything after midnight before your surgery.

When you arrive at the hospital, youll check in and then go to a preparation area where youll remove your clothes and put on a hospital gown. A nurse will insert an IV in your wrist or your arm to administer fluids and medication.

Before surgery, youll meet with your surgeon. Theyll do a quick examination and answer any questions you may have about the procedure. Youll also meet with the anesthesiologist who will be administering the medicine that makes you sleep throughout the procedure.

When its time for surgery, youll enter the operating room on a gurney. The anesthesiologist will inject medicine into your IV. The medicine may feel cold or sting as it enters your body, but it will quickly put you into a deep sleep.

The surgeon will make an incision over the thyroid gland and carefully remove all or part of the gland. Because the thyroid is small and surrounded by nerves and glands, the procedure may take 2 hours or more.

Youll wake up in the recovery room, where the staff will make sure youre comfortable. Theyll check your vital signs and administer pain medication as needed. When youre in stable condition, theyll transfer you to a room where youll remain under observation for 24 to 48 hours.

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Wound Infection May Be A Possibility On Removal Of Thyroid

Though unusual in most cases, yet there may be wound infection after the thyroid removal surgery. It is essential to prevent any infection once you are at home after the surgery. Below are some of the things you need to keep a note after the surgery so as to prevent self from wound infection.

  • Leave you dressings in place unless your doctor tells to remove them
  • Keep your neck wound clean and dry till it gets totally healed.
  • Do not go swimming till your wound is healed completely
  • Do not put pressure on the wound.

Feeling Conflicted About Thyroid Medication

You need to be involved in the decisions regarding your care, and how you feel about your medication and its effects are of central importance. With a thyroid condition, your symptoms can be a good reflection of how well the medication is working. But the constellation of symptoms and side effects associated with thyroid disease can make it difficult to know whether you feel better overall with or without your thyroid medication.

Since you may be conflicted about your thyroid medication, it is a good idea to think about your reasons for feeling so conflicted, to discuss these reasons with your doctor, and to fully understand the consequences of untreated thyroid disease.

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Questions To Ask Your Doctor Before Thyroid Surgery

Duke doctors perform thyroid surgery on a patient at Duke Raleigh Hospital.

Your doctor may recommend surgery to remove part or all of your thyroid gland if its overactive, has grown very large, or has nodules, cysts or other growths that areor could becancerous. Here are essential questions to ask before you schedule thyroid surgery.

Learn more about thyroid cancer treatment at Duke.

How Much Of My Thyroid Will Be Removed

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It depends on the reason for your surgery. If your thyroid is overactive , or the whole gland is enlarged and causing symptomssuch as a feeling of pressure or difficulty talking, breathing or swallowingthe whole thyroid should be removed in a procedure called total thyroidectomy, said former Duke endocrine surgeon Dr.;Julie Sosa, MD. If only half your thyroid is enlarged and causing symptoms, but the other half is normal, then half should be removed, said Sosa.

For the most common type of thyroid cancer, which is generally low-risk, your doctor may recommend removing all or half your thyroid, depending on your circumstances. If you have intermediate- or high-risk cancermeaning it has spread outside the thyroidwe recommend total thyroidectomy, said Sosa.

Sophisticated imaging called neck mapping can help your surgeon determine ahead of time how much of your thyroid and which lymph nodes, if any, need to be removed. While not in use everywhere, neck mapping is routine at Duke. The best chance for a cure for thyroid cancer is making sure we remove all of the disease, said former Duke endocrine surgeon Dr.;Sanziana Roman, MD. We dont want to overtreat, but we also dont want to undertreat. So knowing exactly how much surgery a patient needs is very important.

Also Check: What Organ System Is The Thyroid Gland In

So When Should You Be Concerned About Thyroid Nodules

Like I mentioned a moment ago, most of the time these nodules dont lead to any serious problems. However some doctors like doing surgery and in cases where there are multiple nodules, many will suggest removing the entire gland because its easier to remove the entire gland rather than remove individual nodules. In my opinion there are really only a few situations when surgery should be recommended to remove a thyroid nodule:

#1 should be pretty obviously- When the thyroid nodule is cancerous. Obviously if the nodule is malignant, then this would be the best and most justifiable reason to have it removed. Fortunately, only about 5% to 10% of nodules are malignant.

#2. When the thyroid nodule is shifting or compressing the esophagus/trachea or the larynx. Sometimes when the nodule has gotten so big it can shift the larynx or your voice box causing inflammation leading to a change in your voice, difficulty with speaking or just that feeling of being tired and hoarse. If the nodule shifts the trachea to the side you can experience difficulty with swallowing or breathing- So be aware of these symptoms as well.

The last thing I wanted to cover in todays video, are the two tests you should have done if nodules are identified. If your doctor has not run these tests, its critical that they are run. These tests identify whether or not you have an autoimmune disease

Why Thyroid Surgery

There are several reasons because of which doctors recommend thyroid surgery. The presence of tumors or nodules in the thyroid gland is one of the most common reasons.

The majority of the thyroid nodules will be benign, but they can be diagnosed as precancerous or cancerous in some cases.

Even though the nodule is benign, it can cause several issues. If the nodule has grown large, it can even obstruct the throat and stimulate either lower or overproduction of hormones.

In such cases, doctors recommend surgery, and it can correct hyperthyroidism. Graves disease is one of the significant reasons behind hyperthyroidism.

In this situation, the body may not identify the thyroid glands presence, and it starts treating the gland as some foreign body.

When the body is in such a condition, it may even send antibodies to attack the thyroid gland. The antibodies will inflame the thyroid, and that results in hormone overproduction.

There is one more reason people opt for thyroid surgery and that is swelling and in some cases enlargement of the gland.

Goiter is the word used for such condition, and like any other nodules, even goiter can block thyroid functioning and even the throat. People may find it difficult to breathe, speak, and eat in this condition.

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What To Think About

If you have a total thyroidectomy, you will develop hypothyroidism and need to take man-made thyroid hormone for the rest of your life. If you have a lobectomy or subtotal thyroidectomy, you may have hypothyroidism and you may need to take thyroid medicine for the rest of your life.

You will most likely be treated with radioactive iodine after surgery for thyroid cancer to make sure that all the thyroid tissue and cancer cells are gone.

You may have a lobectomy, with or without isthmectomy, if your doctor suspects that a nodule may be cancerous. If you do have cancer, a surgeon usually will do a complete thyroidectomy.

After surgery for hyperthyroidism, some people will have low calcium levels and may need to take calcium supplements.

What To Expect After The Operation

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Scar

You will have one scar, 3-4 inches across, along your collar line. This will run horizontally along the natural lines of the skin in your neck. After a few weeks it should be healing well, and after 12 months or so it will hardly be visible.

Stitches/clips

With thyroid surgery, many treatment centres now use skin clips on the outside of the neck instead of stitches. You may have your clips removed 2-3 days after your operation, before you leave hospital, or you may have them removed at around 5-6 days. In this case, they will be removed be your GP or practice nurse. A small drain will be attached to your wound to prevent fluid building up. This will be removed after 2-3 days.

Dressings

You do not need to keep the wound covered with a dressing. Exposure to the air will help the wound to heal more quickly. You can wash as normal after the clips have been removed, but take care to pat the wound dry gently.

Discomfort

Tiredness and feeling emotional

Painkillers

Painkillers may well cause constipation, so its important to get plenty of fibre in your diet while you are recovering. Fresh fruit and vegetables will help to keep your bowels moving regularly.

Recommended Reading: How Long Can You Have Thyroid Cancer Without Knowing

Thyroid Removal Can Trigger Risky Side Effects

HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Jan. 8, 2019 — Surgery to remove all or part of the thyroid can trigger side effects that send some patients back to the hospital, a new study finds.

These side effects include tingling in the fingers that can become tremors and spasms in all muscles of the body — including the heart and muscles surrounding the lungs.

“The information we gleaned is directly applicable to patient care, and suggests more careful immediate follow-up for patients at high risk for side effects and complications of surgery,” said study author Dr. Alliric Willis. He is co-director of the Jefferson Thyroid and Parathyroid Center of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.

Removing the thyroid is usually a safe procedure. However, some of the side effects of the operation can be so severe that patients need to be hospitalized, Willis explained in a university news release.

For the study, the researchers used the 2014 Nationwide Readmissions Database to collect data on nearly 23,000 patients who had thyroid surgery. The procedures were done to cure cancer, treat goiter , or manage an overactive thyroid.

In all, 4 percent were hospitalized again within 30 days. Most of these patients were readmitted within a week after surgery. Of the patients that needed readmission, 25 percent returned within two days, the researchers found.

The report was published Jan. 3 in the journal Surgery.

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