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Why Does Someone Have Their Thyroid Removed

What Is A Thyroidectomy

Why I Had My Thyroid Removed

A thyroidectomy is a surgical procedure to remove all or part of the thyroid gland and used to treat diseases of the thyroid gland including:

  • Thyroid cancer
  • Large goiters or thyroid nodules causing symptomatic obstruction such as swallowing or breathing difficulties.
  • Multi-nodular Goiter

A thyroidectomy is traditionally a minimally invasive surgery performed through a small horizontal incision in the front of the neck. The entire thyroid gland may be removed or just a single lobe, a portion of a lobe and the isthmus or other structures. Depending on the extent of the operation, patients may need to take the drug levothyroxine, an oral synthetic thyroid hormone.

Are There Other Means Of Treatment

Surgery is definitely indicated to remove nodules suspicious for thyroid cancer. In the absence of a possibility of thyroid cancer, there may be nonsurgical options for therapy depending on your diagnosis. You should discuss other options for treatment with your physician who has expertise in thyroid diseases.

Can I Lower The Risk Of My Cancer Progressing Or Coming Back

If you have thyroid cancer, you probably want to know if there are things you can do that might lower your risk of the cancer growing or coming back, such as exercising, eating a certain type of diet, or taking nutritional supplements. Unfortunately, its not yet clear if there are things you can do that will help.

Adopting healthy behaviors such as not smoking, eating well, getting regular physical activity, and staying at a healthy weight is important. We know that these types of changes can have positive effects on your health that can extend beyond your risk of cancer.

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Signs You Might Need Thyroid Surgery

    Its hard to believe that something as small as your thyroid can play such an important role in your body. But, even though its only the size of your thumb, your thyroid produces hormones triiodothyronine and thyroxine . T3 and T4 reach almost every cell in your system and control several of your bodily functions, including:

    • Body temperature
    • Central and peripheral nervous system
    • Bodyweight and muscle strength

    Because your thyroid plays such a crucial role in how your body works, you experience a wide range of unpleasant symptoms when it malfunctions. These types of issues can occur for several reasons, ranging from thyroid diseases to benign or cancerous growths.

    At Desert West Surgery, our experienced surgeons specialize in treating a wide range of health conditions at our three convenient locations in Las Vegas. If you have thyroid problems, these issues could indicate the need for surgery.

    Reasons For Thyroid Surgery #3 Thyroid Goiter

    Thyroid hormones have an important role in regulating ...

    A goiter just means big or enlarged thyroid, and a multinodular goiter means that the thyroid has more than one nodule, along with being large. The nodules themselves are not the goiter, but in fact the whole thyroid containing the nodules is the enlarged goiter or multinodular goiter. Thyroid goiters almost always require thyroid surgery.

    A substernal goiter is when the thyroid has abnormally enlarged over time and grown below the collar bone and into your chest. This is not something that occurs over the course of several weeks or months. The enlargement usually occurs over the course of years. The most common cause of substernal goiters is long standing multinodular goiters that have grown over many, many years into the chest cavity. The incidence of substernal goiters among patients with multinodular goiters is reported to range from approximately 5-15%.

    The most common symptom or complaint of a multinodular goiter is the unsightly cosmetic appearance of a large lump in the neck or the symptoms produced by the actual size of the goiter. Symptoms related to the size of the goiter may include a sense of a lump in the throat, difficulty swallowing, difficulty breathing and even in extreme cases, voice changes and even a completely hoarse voice. Substernal goiters may not produce a lump in the neck, however, because they may not grow outward. The substernal goiter may actually grow inwards toward the back portion of your neck and down into the chest area.

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    Caring For Your Incision

    Your surgeon will talk to you about whether you should continue to wear a dressing over your incision. Depending on the surgeon, you may have stitches that will need to be removed or absorbable sutures that will not. If steri-strips were applied, these will usually stay in place for around a week. Most surgeons recommend leaving these alone until they fall off by themselves, rather than trying to remove them.

    You will probably be able to shower, but should try to keep your neck as dry as possible. You should not submerge, soak, or scrub your incision, and bathing in a tub should be avoided until you see your surgeon. After showering, you can lightly pat your neck dry or use a hair dryer set on the “cool” setting.

    Your incision may appear red and hard at first, and you may notice some slight swelling and bruising around the scar. If you experience itching, applying scar gel or aloe may provide relief, but talk to your surgeon before doing so. The hardening typically peaks about three weeks after surgery and then subsides over the next two to three months.

    In time, your incision will turn pink and then white, and most are completely healed in six to nine months.

    Importance Of Physical Activity

    No diet plan would be complete without regular physical activity. Strength training exercises are especially important for people without a thyroid because building lean muscle mass will help burn more calories. Even at rest, muscle tissue requires more energy than fat. The greater your ratio of muscle to fat, the higher your metabolism. All forms of physical activity help to burn calories and anything that burns calories will boost metabolism and help keep you at a healthy weight.

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    Reasons For Thyroid Surgery

    The most common reason for thyroid surgery is the presence of nodules or tumors on the thyroid gland. Most nodules are benign, but some can be cancerous or precancerous.

    Even benign nodules can cause problems if they grow large enough to obstruct the throat, or if they stimulate the thyroid to overproduce hormones .

    Surgery can correct hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism is frequently the result of an autoimmune disorder called Graves disease.

    Graves disease causes the body to misidentify the thyroid gland as a foreign body and send antibodies to attack it. These antibodies inflame the thyroid, causing hormone overproduction.

    Another reason for thyroid surgery is the swelling or enlargement of the thyroid gland. This is referred to as a goiter. Like large nodules, goiters can block the throat and interfere with eating, speaking, and breathing.

    There are several different types of thyroid surgery. The most common are lobectomy, subtotal thyroidectomy, and total thyroidectomy.

    Risks Of Thyroid Surgery

    STOP…before you have your THYROID removed, WATCH this video!

    In the hands of an experienced thyroid surgeon, thyroid surgery is a safe procedure with few complications. The following possible complications are directly related to the operative experience of the surgeon, and these statistics are based on our own results here at Columbia:

    Bleeding in the neck:

    As with any operation, there is always a chance of bleeding. The average blood loss for this operation is less than a tablespoon and the chance of needing a blood transfusion is extremely rare. However, bleeding in the neck is potentially life-threatening because as the blood pools, it can push on the windpipe or trachea causing difficulty breathing. Fortunately, in the hands of Columbia Thyroid Center surgeons, the risk of bleeding is less than 1%. Due to this rare risk of bleeding, patients are observed for 4 hours by our highly trained recovery room staff. If there is no sign of bleeding and the patient feels well, he or she may go home. Once at home, patients and their friends/family should watch for signs such as difficulty breathing, a high squeaky voice, swelling in the neck that continues to get bigger, and a feeling that something bad is happening. If any of these symptoms happen, the patient should call 911 first and then their surgeon.

    Hoarseness :

    Hypocalcemia :

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    Reasons For Thyroid Removal

    The small gland in the lower part of our neck called the thyroid is important to the overall functioning of the bodys systems. It produces hormones that regulate metabolism and the correct performance of those body systems. When the thyroid gland is not functioning correctly, it either underproduces or overproduces hormones. For the majority of the estimated 20 million Americans who suffer from thyroid problems, hormone replacement therapy is the most common treatment.

    How Will You Partner With The Rest Of My Medical Team

    After surgery, youll likely need monitoring of your thyroid hormone levels and, in the case of thyroid cancer, follow-up treatment and testing. You want to know that the people taking care of different aspects of your thyroid disease or thyroid cancer are working together and communicating as a team, said Sosa. At Duke, weve created a clinic where you, your surgeon and your endocrinologist can meet at the same time, in the same place.

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    Do Supplements Diet And Other Therapies Work

    Assuming your thyroid medication has been optimized your next step will be to get aggressive with additional therapies.

    This means you will absolutely need to look directly at the types of foods that you are eating, the types of supplements you are taking, and how much you are exercising.


    You will need to work twice as hard to lose your weight compared to someone who has a thyroid.

    This usually means that having cheat days from your healthy diet, at least in the beginning, is not really an option for you.

    It certainly isn’t fair but it’s better to know that this is the case than to not.

    When I talk about diet I’m really talking about healthy eating.

    You want to avoid any type of diet which is considered a “calorie restricted diet” as these types of diets will make thyroid function worse.

    Instead, focus on diets which include healthy whole foods such as the paleo diet, whole30, or any other version such as that.

    I would also recommend that you look into supplements designed to help thyroid hormone do its job, supplements that can help with weight loss directly, and supplements which help manage food cravings.

    These should ALL be done in conjunction with adjusting your diet .

    Do not make the mistake thinking that taking a couple of supplements will help you lose weight because that is not the case.

    What Is Your Complication Rate

    Massage Therapy &  Thyroid Health

    The answer you want to hear is the surgeons own complication rate for the procedurenot the average 1 percent reported in the medical literature. If the surgeon only does two thyroid surgeries a year and one patient had a problem, that makes it a 50 percent risk, said Roman. Dont be shy about asking for this information. Said Sosa, Its the ethical responsibility of the surgeon to report the truth and to know their own data.

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    How Is Thyroid Surgery Performed

    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.

    Thyroid Removal Side Effects: What Happens When Thyroid Is Removed

    Thyroid gland is a part of the endocrine system which helps our body regulates the metabolism. It is a butterfly-shaped gland located inside the front of the lower neck. Under certain conditions, doctors may advise an individual for thyroid removal or thyroid gland removal which requires the surgery to remove all or a part of the gland. Usually thyroid removal is done so as to treat small thyroid growth or nodules/cyst, or in case of thyroid cancer, or if a person has an overactive thyroid gland which may be dangerous, etc. Though thyroid surgery is generally considered safe by most doctors, at times patients undergoing the surgery may experience some kind side effects after thyroid removal. In this current article of ours, we will talk about what happens when thyroid is removed. We will also talk about few of the tips to cope up from the side effects of thyroid removal procedure. Hope this would be a beneficial read for you.

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    What Problems Can Occur With The Thyroid Gland

    Hypothyroidism: An under-active thyroid is called hypothyroidism. The thyroid produces less thyroxine. This makes the pituitary gland send more TSH into the bloodstream to get the thyroid gland to make more hormone.

    Common symptoms of hypothyroidism include:

    • Weight gain
    • Dry skin, hair, and nails
    • Feeling tired

    Hyperthyroidism: An over-active thyroid is called hyperthyroidism. The thyroid gland makes too much thyroid hormone. The pituitary gland decreases the amount of TSH in the blood.

    Common symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:

    • Heat intolerance
    • Losing weight without dieting
    • Muscle weakness, fatigue

    Nodules: Thyroid nodules can be either solid or cystic . Most of the time, your thyroid works normally if you have nodules. Most nodules are not cancerous. However, your doctor might take a sample of the cells in the nodule. This is called a fine needle aspiration. This sample will be examined to make sure there are no cancer cells.

    Goiter: This is an enlargement of the thyroid gland. You might feel swelling or enlargement in the neck. It can become larger because your thyroid is trying to make more thyroid hormone. Also, in hyperthyroidism the cells grow faster, which causes the thyroid to grow and make more thyroid hormone than the body needs.

    What You Need To Know

    Thyroidectomy: 5 things every patient without a thyroid should know
    • Thyroid cancer, thyroid nodules and other conditions may require thyroidectomy.
    • Once the thyroid gland is removed, the person takes replacement thyroid hormone to keep the bodys functions in balance.
    • Thyroidectomy can be performed through an incision at the front of the neck, or through the mouth .

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    Side Effects Start To Hit Hard

    Being done with surgery and radiation was the strangest feeling, like when someone dies and you’re so busy with the arrangements and guests and food….and then the next day, you’re alone. That’s how I felt. Sometimes, I also felt like I had a big secret.

    I did quickly realize that I was now part of the Big C club, and that meant I would require a lifetime of medication and tests. Every 3 to 6 months I had to see my doctors for blood work, and I needed an ultrasound twice a year. It was a dizzying experience juggling those responsibilities, especially because I was also back to taking care of Jack, running our home, and working as an editor. I tried to stay upbeat and positive.

    As vain as it sounds, gaining weight was the toughest side effect of my journey. I had always been small-boned and fit. I prided myself on eating clean and exercising. As a mother, I wanted to be in shape, racing Jack around the track and hiking up hills with him and Lucy. And yes, as a single woman, I wanted to look a certain waynot skinny, but the way I did before cancer. Instead, I found myself pathetically crying in my closet in a pile of size 2 jeans that no longer fit.

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    How Should I Be Evaluated Prior To The Operation

    As for other operations, all patients considering thyroid surgery should be evaluated preoperatively with a thorough and detailed medical history and physical exam including cardiopulmonary evaluation. An electrocardiogram and a chest x-ray prior to surgery are often recommended for patients who are over 45 years of age or who are symptomatic from heart disease. Blood tests may be performed to determine if a bleeding disorder is present.

    Importantly, any patient who has had a change in voice or who has had a previous neck operation and/or who has had a suspected invasive thyroid cancer should have their vocal cord function evaluated routinely before surgery. This is necessary to determine whether the recurrent laryngeal nerves that control the vocal cord muscles are functioning normally.

    Finally, in rare cases, if medullary thyroid cancer is suspected, patients should be evaluated for endocrine tumors that occur as part of familial syndromes including adrenal tumors and enlarged parathyroid glands that produce excess parathyroid hormone .

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