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Thyroid Surgery - Why It Is Performed?

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Nitin Jha 89% (19 ratings)
FAIS, FIAGES, MS - General Surgery, MBBS
General Surgeon, Noida  •  19 years experience
Thyroid Surgery - Why It Is Performed?

Thyroid surgery is performed with the partial or complete removal of the thyroid gland when the patient is diagnosed with thyroid cancer, abnormal cyst formation, goitre, hyperthyroidism or painful thyroid nodules. There are 3 types of thyroid surgery which are performed – lobectomy (removal of part of the thyroid gland), subtotal thyroidectomy (characterized by the removal of the whole thyroid gland but presence of some of the thyroid tissues) and total thyroidectomy (removal of the whole thyroid gland and thyroid tissues).

The surgery is performed on the patient under local anaesthesia with a small cut over the skin and the subsequent compression of the tissues and muscles to expose the thyroid gland for operation. The factors on which recovery depends mainly include the age of the patient, the type of surgery performed and the extent to which the cancer has spread.

Here are the reasons because of which thyroid surgery is performed:

  1. Surgery might be performed if there is an abnormal enlargement of the thyroid gland, known as goitre, which obstructs common functions such as chewing foods, breathing and talking because of throat blockage.
  2. Surgery is a go-to respite for people suffering from hyperthyroidism as this disorder is impossible to diagnose by means of medications or radioactive iodine. Hyperthyroidism occurs because of a side-effect of another disorder called Grave’s Disease. This disease makes the antibodies attack the thyroid gland, as a result of which the gland tends to overproduce hormones.
  3. The most common reason for getting a thyroid surgery is the presence of abnormal cysts or nodule formation in the thyroid gland. While most of the nodules are usually non-malignant in nature, some of them can be cancerous. The benign nodules can also cause significant obstruction with normal bodily functions if they are not treated on time.

Risks

Like any other major surgery, thyroid surgery has its own share of risks, which are:

  • Severe bleeding, infection and allergic reactions to local anaesthetics.
  • Significant damage to the parathyroid glands (which are responsible for controlling the calcium level of the body) and the laryngeal nerves (situated adjacently to the vocal chords).

These risks can be prevented by prescribed dosage of supplements. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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