Surgical treatment of thyroid gland

Mar 18, 2012 , Tereza Kratochvílová

chirurgicka-lecba-nemoci-stitne-zlazy.jpg - kopie
chirurgicka-lecba-nemoci-stitne-zlazy.jpg - kopie
Surgical treatment of the thyroid gland is often a permanent solutions of issues with this organ. The gland is removed most commonly due to hyperthyroidism, the increased function of the gland, which cannot be normalized. Other reasons are tumors or nodules that cannot be treated otherwise and also a goiter endangering surrounding structures. Surgical treatment of the thyroid gland is a common operation with both positive and negative consequences.

Surgical treatment of thyroid gland

The thyroid gland is a fairly inconspicuous organ of great importance for the functioning of the entire body. It's found on the front of the neck and is composed of two lobes, which are connected with a bridge (isthmus). Diseases of the thyroid gland are becoming more and more common today. They mainly affect women after 40th year of life, but they don't avoid men and younger women either. They are usually autoimmune diseases, inflammations, malignant and benign tumors. Fortunately, the majority of these diseases can be treated relatively successfully. There are several very effective method how to combat diseases of the thyroid gland, among which a surgical treatment has an irreplaceable place.

Preparations for surgery

Surgical treatment is decided by an endocrinologist together with a surgeon. For surgical treatment to be recommended to a patient, a series of examinations is necessary. It's necessary to examine the levels of thyroid hormones in blood, to determine the structure, size and exact location of the thyroid gland using ultrasound, computer tomography or magnetic resonance. To judge the metabolic activity of the thyroid gland, scintigraphy is used. If a cancerous node is present in the thyroid gland, a biopsy is performed, removing a part of the gland with a thin needle to be examined in a laboratory. Surgical treatment of the thyroid gland is indicated in the case where every preceding treatment has failed. It's viable for the treatment of malignant tumors, for toxic goiter, also known as a nodular goiter, or for a mechanic syndrome, where the thyroid gland is so enlarged it presses on surrounding structures.

The basis of surgical treatment of thyroid gland

The surgical treatment of thyroid gland diseased is based on the removal of the entire thyroid gland or its part by a surgeon. In the case of some malignant tumors, surrounding lymph nodes are removed as well. The removal of the entire thyroid gland is called a total thyroidectomy, the removal of a single lobe is known as a lobectomy and the removal of a greater part of the thyroid gland is known as a subtotal thyroidectomy. If the surgery is repeated, we are talking about a reoperation. The surgical removal itself is not too much of a stress on the patient. It's done under a general anesthesia, with a 5 day hospitalization on average. The surgery is done by making an incision on the neck about 10 cm long and removing the gland. The wound is sown up afterward. The wound is drained for the first two days after surgery. This operation has no common complications. Some of them are caused by injuring one of the reccurent nerves, which pass through the gland. The complications manifest through raspy voice following the surgery, which tends to disappear on its own after several months. A worse situation is the damage of both nerves, which causes breathing issues, sometimes a tracheostomy (an opening into the trachea) is needed to restore breathing. Difficulties with swallowing can also be present and will also disappear on its own. Complications can occur in the wound area. The wound can itch, hurt, heal badly, rarely a keloid scar (noticeable, protruding scar) can be present.

Therapy following the treatment of thyroid gland

A radioiodine therapy is sometimes required after the removal of the thyroid gland, especially with malignant tumors, in order to destroy the remnants of the thyroid gland, which weren't possible to be removed. For example, with a malignant tumor, known as a medular carcinoma, the irradiation is doe from the outside following the surgery. It is absolutely necessary to supply thyroid hormones in the form of pills for the entire lives after a total thyroidectomy. As any surgery, a surgical removal of the thyroid gland is an invasion to your body, which carries health risks and a no small amount of fear and uncertainty. However, a surgical removal of the thyroid gland is a fairly small and short procedure, which only has a very small percentage of possible complications. If you cooperate fully with your doctor and obey his advice, the surgical treatment of thyroid diseases is a very effective treatment which will return you back to your normal life.

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