Your thyroid gland produces hormones that regulate your metabolism and affect virtually every system in your body. A thyroid condition that needs surgery, such as a nodule, may affect hormone production and cause body-wide symptoms. However, when thyroid surgery may be required, you’ll experience symptoms such as:
These thyroid conditions may need surgical intervention:
Hyperthyroidism is commonly treated with radioactive iodine, but in cases where you can’t tolerate the medication or overactive hormone production causes an enlarged thyroid gland (goiter), surgery may be needed to correct the problem.
Surgical intervention may also be necessary when the gland produces so much thyroid hormone that it’s dangerous for your health, a condition called a thyroid storm or thyrotoxicosis. Thyrotoxicosis develops suddenly in those with hyperthyroidism, usually in response to infection or stress.
There are several types of thyroid nodules that are noncancerous -- colloid nodule, follicular adenoma, thyroid cysts, and inflammatory nodules. Some nodules may go away on their own, or they can be treated with medications. Surgical removal is considered when the nodules get so large that they interfere with normal thyroid function, make it hard to swallow or affect your appearance.
During surgery, the primary tumor is removed, which may involve part or all of the thyroid gland. Then the tissues are examined to be sure that all of the cancer was eliminated. If the cancer spread beyond the tumor, additional tissues and lymph nodes may be removed during surgery.
Thyroid surgery, called a thyroidectomy, is used to remove all or part of the thyroid. The surgical approach that’s best for your thyroid condition is determined after your surgeon at General Surgical Care evaluates the size, location, type of tumor, and the tumor’s stage if it’s cancerous.
The surgeons at General Surgical Care have extensive experience performing minimally-invasive surgery, and they use that technique when possible. If open surgery is necessary to completely remove a thyroid tumor, the incision is only slightly larger than incisions used for minimally-invasive techniques. Additionally, incisions are made in natural skin creases to minimize the appearance of scarring.
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