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Thyroid Surgery: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

What is the treatment? How is the treatment done? Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?) Who is not eligible for the treatment? Are there any side effects? What are the post-treatment guidelines? How long does it take to recover? What is the price of the treatment in India? Are the results of the treatment permanent? What are the alternatives to the treatment?

What is the treatment?

Thyroid is a small gland that is located in the lower front part of the neck below the voice box. The thyroid gland produces hormones that help to regulate metabolism. It is also instrumental in helping the body organs to function properly and also helps to conserve body heat. Thyroid surgery is required when the thyroid gland malfunctions and produces excess hormones. This may result in swelling and growth of cyst or nodules and other problems. The main symptoms of thyroid disorder are increase in body weight, hair loss, changes in mood, constipation, blurred vision, muscle weakness, brittleness of the nails, dry skin, constipation, feeling of numbness and even a swollen neck.

The most common reason why thyroid surgery is carried out is the presence of nodules or tumors on the thyroid gland. Nodules can be cancerous or precancerous and lead to a lot of complications. Thyroid surgery can cure a condition called hyperthyroidism. This condition is caused when benign nodules stimulate the thyroid to produce more hormones than is actually necessary. Graves’ disease is a peculiar condition where the body misidentifies the thyroid gland as a foreign body and attacks it. The antibodies that attack the thyroid gland cause the production of excess of thyroid hormones and this leads to hyperthyroidism. Thyroid surgery can also treat goiter, which is a condition that results in the swelling or enlargement of the thyroid gland.

How is the treatment done?

Thyroid surgery is generally done under general anesthesia. Anesthesia is given in the form of liquid injection or gas through a mask and then a breathing tube is placed in the trachea to help the patient breathe. Several monitors are also placed on the body of the patient to ensure that the heart rate, blood pressure and blood oxygen remains at optimum levels throughout the procedure.

There are a different types of thyroid surgery. Lobectomy is done when a nodule, inflammation or swelling affects only half of the thyroid gland and only one of the lobes has to be removed. The thyroid gland is removed but some portion of thyroid tissues are left in subtotal thyroidectomy. Some functions of the thyroid are thus preserved. When nodules, inflammation or swelling affects the entire thyroid gland, total thyroidectomy is done to remove the thyroid gland and the thyroid tissues.

A surgeon makes a single incision or a number of incisions in the neck or elsewhere to remove part or the whole of the thyroid gland. In conventional thyroidectomy, a single incision is made in the center of the neck to access the thyroid gland directly. Small incisions are made in the neck and surgical instruments are inserted through them in case of endoscopic thyroidectomy. A camera is also inserted that guides the surgeon. Robotic thyroidectomy requires incisions to be made in the chest and armpit or high up in the neck. This approach prevents a person from having an incision in the center of his/her neck.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

A person suffering from the side-effects of a malfunctioning thyroid gland is eligible for treatment. A person suffering from thyroid cancer is also eligible for this treatment. Thyroid surgery helps to correct hyperthyroidism due to an overactive thyroid gland and also to treat noncancerous enlargement of the thyroid or goiter. People suffering from such conditions are eligible for treatment.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

A person who does not have a malfunctioning thyroid gland is not suitable for this treatment. Someone suffering from hypothyroidism is also not qualified to undergo this treatment. As it is a surgical procedure, prior consultation with the doctor is required. A physically unfit person should not undergo this surgery.

Are there any side effects?

Thyroid surgery is generally a safe procedure. However some side-effects are associated with this surgery. The complications may include infection, bleeding and airways can get obstructed due to the bleeding. In rare cases, one of the parathyroid glands may get affected and the person will suffer from hypothyroidism. In some other cases, a person may suffer from permanent hoarse or weak voice due to damage to the nerves.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

The patient’s throat is bound to feel sore till a few days after the surgery. A doctor may prescribe some over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen to deal with it. A person may develop hypothyroidism after the surgery. In this case, the hormone levels are brought under control with some form of levothyroxine. A person does not require much time to resume normal activities. However, the patient should wait for at least 10 days before engaging in strenuous activities.

How long does it take to recover?

Thyroid surgery normally does not produce any serious side-effect and allows the person to resume normal activities within a day. A person may return home on the day of the surgery itself or may be recommended to stay back for a night by the doctor. A person may suffer from pain in the throat for a few days. It is resolved easily by taking some medications.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

A thyroid surgery generally costs around Rs 60000 – Rs 65000 in India.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

The results of the surgery depend on how much of the thyroid gland has been removed. If part of the thyroid gland is removed, the remaining part of the gland takes over the functions of the gland. If the entire thyroid gland is removed, a person can develop hypothyroidism. In this case, a person will have to take medication containing synthetic thyroid hormone. So it will be a life-long process.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

Info Not AvailableGraves disease

Popular Questions & Answers

I'm phanindra kumar. Age: 43. I have hypothyroid condition for the past 7 years. For the last 2-3 years I have gained so much weight and i'm now 120 kg. Three years back I used to be 74 kgs. I'm taking 125 mcg thyronorm. I tested yesterday and tsh levels are around 32.50. Please suggest shall I increase the dose and how much and how can I stop gaining weight and become normal.

MBBS, CCEBDM, Diploma in Diabetology, Diploma in Clinical Nutrition & Dietetics, Cetificate Course In Thyroid Disorders Management (CCMTD)
Endocrinologist, Dharwad
Hello, thanks for the query. I have seen the details given. The main reason for weight gain appears to be uncontrolled hypothyroidism. Ideally in a well controlled patient t3 & t4 are in normal range plus tsh is around 3 to 4 mu/l. It is clear tha...

I was detected with tsh 6 during second pregnancy which however decreased so I left the 25 mg but after 1 year the tsh came 12 to which after consultation I am on 37.5 mg but for the last 2 times the tsh is still 5.91 and 6.1 respectively do I need to change my dose I am still on 37.5 thyronorm.

MBBS, CCEBDM, Diploma in Diabetology, Diploma in Clinical Nutrition & Dietetics, Cetificate Course In Thyroid Disorders Management (CCMTD)
Endocrinologist, Dharwad
lybrate-user ji, thanks for the query. I have seen the details mentioned. Usually when one is on adequate dosage of levothyroxine (based on t4, tsh, age, weight & height), tsh is maintained around 3 to 4 mu/l, at which all the symptoms of hypothyr...
1 person found this helpful

I am 31 year old female, 67 weight 5 feet height. My tsh level is 0.04. With doctor prescription I am taking 75 mcg thyronorm tablet. But now a days I am feeling dizziness and weakness. Is it due to high dose of thyronorm.

MBBS, MD Internal Medicine, PhD (Endocrinology), FRCP(Edin)
Endocrinologist, Vellore
Dear lybrate-user, the tsh value of 0.04 is low, suggesting that we should slightly reduce the dose of thyronorm. I suggest that you reduce the dose to one and a half of 50 ug tab (dose 62. 5ug) daily on empty stomach and recheck free t4 and tsh a...

I checked my tsh on oct 30. My tsh is 0.01 micro iu/ml. I took 75 mcg eltroxin from nov 2 till today. But I don't have any improvement in hair fall and weight loss. Thank you.

B. Sc., BAMS
Ayurvedic Doctor, Madurai
Dear Ms. lybrate-user hypothyroidism along with other hormonal issues can cause hair fall and weightloss. Though the details are less as given by you, as an ayurveda physician, we have to ask many questions and point out the reason for your proble...

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