Endocrine surgery refers to surgery performed over Endocrine glands. It is a specialized branch of surgery that focuses on treatment of endocrine diseases. Some of the major endocrine diseases are thyroid cancer, grave’s disease, pancreatic cancer, etc. The endocrine glands secrete hormones that are very essential for our growth, metabolism, development and many such essential functions. Human body has eight endocrine glands. Though surgeries take place for all the eight a majority of the surgeries usually happen for the thyroid, parathyroid, adrenaline glands and pancreas.
The surgery process of each of these glands is quite different from the others. This is primarily due to the fact that all these glands are located in very different areas of the body. Since hormonal imbalance can lead to very severe problems and hence endocrine surgeries are very vital for saving a person’s life. Mostly the surgeries involve removal of tumors or partial or complete removal of the glands. The risk involved in the surgery varies according to which glands surgery is being done. While complications in case of glands like thyroid or adrenal glands can lead to as severe complications, in case of others the impact though high is not so much. Thus risks involved in these surgeries is average and will depend on how properly the procedure is done.
Surgical disorders pertaining to thyroid comprise thyroid cancers, benign nodules and hyperfunctioning conditions. Benign thyroid disorders include enlarging nodules that cause compression, multinodular goiters and Graves thyroiditis. Hyperparathyroidism is a disease that causes overgrowth of a thyroid gland located adjacent to thyroid gland. Cushing syndrome is a condition that takes place when there is overproduction of Cortisol in one of the two adrenal glands.
When a person is diagnosed with endocrine disease , doctors do not proceed immediately with the surgery. This is because surgeries may involve removal of parts or even entire glands. This will effect the production and balance of the hormone that gland is producing. Hence, before proceeding with the treatment, doctors usually keep the patients under observation, study their medical history and prescribe medications so that the hormone levels can be adjusted to the required level at time of surgery.
Once this is done, the surgery is performed. Many new technologies have come in the area of endocrine surgery. For instance, in the minimally invasive endocrine surgeries like in the case of thyroid glands or adrenal glands each area of gland is tested for problems in isolation from other parts. Once a potential problem area is identified under these localized tests, the surgeon operates only on that specific part of the gland instead of the entire gland.
Nevertheless, sometimes there is a need to remove the entire gland if the endocrine disease has advanced to a very high stage. Usually these glands are located in very inner areas of the body and are surrounded by many other organs. Hence the surgeries take around 3 to 4 hours on average because the doctors have to make sure they do not damage any nerves or organs and this requires very careful manipulation. Once the surgery is done the patient is then put under observation for some time.
Ideally, one should go for endocrine surgeries as soon as one is diagnosed with any endocrine disease. This is because their are procedures and medication schedule to be followed prior to operations and delaying may advance the illness.
Not everyone is eligible for a endocrine surgery. A lot depends on the medical history of the patient and only after consultations with a qualified endocrinologist can one opt for the surgery.
Apart from temporary swelling, pain and hormonal imbalances which can be corrected through proper post treatment medication there are no other side effects, if surgery was done properly. The side effects regarding hormonal imbalance are common for all endocrine gland surgeries and endocrinologists usually prescribe medicines to stabilize the hormone levels post surgery. In case, during surgery some vital organs or nerves get damaged accidentally severe complications can arise. For example in the case of thyroid gland surgeries side effects like laryngeal nerve injury, hyperparathyroidism, hypothyroidism, etc. can happen. Hence, the proper execution of surgical procedures is of vital importance if you want to prevent any side effects
Apart from following the recommended medication schedule, you should avoid doing any strenuous activities as these may tear up the incision. For instance, in case of thyroid surgery you should avoid putting stress on your throat. Apart from doing gentle neck exercises, which will ease pain, you should also eat food that can be swallowed easily. Periodic change of the dressing is essential to avoid infection on the incision.
Typically the recovery period is around 2 weeks before you can resume your daily work. This period is reduced drastically in case of minmally invasive surgeries to 1 week however.
Typically the price of endocrine surgeries varies between 60000 to 5,00,000 depending on the severity of the problem
Nowadays there are therapies like Radiofrequency Ablation therapy for adrenal glands, Thyroid hormone suppression therapy,etc. which provide an alternative to go to incase of endocrine diseases instead of endocrine surgeries