What is a Thyroidectomy Surgery?
A thyroidectomy is a surgical procedure that removes all or part of the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is an organ located in the front of the neck that works to regulate hormones which are responsible for controlling metabolism, heart rate, and other functions within the body. Removal of the entire thyroid gland is referred to as a total thyroidectomy, while partial removal of the gland is referred to as a subtotal or partial thyroidectomy.
Why is a Thyroidectomy Surgery Necessary?
There are several reasons why a person may require a thyroidectomy. A person may experience benign nodules or a growth in the thyroid, known as a goiter, which may require removal. Additionally, someone may experience hyperthyroidism, which is an overproduction of hormones. In this situation, surgeons may need to partially or completely remove the thyroid. Additionally, doctors may also suggest a thyroidectomy for thyroid cancer treatment.
What Can Patients Expect After a Thyroidectomy?
Right after the surgery, patients may experience some discomfort in the throat and neck, which is normal and should diminish in a few days. Patients will likely be required to rest for a few days, and they should plan to take a few weeks off from work or school. Patients may also experience hypothyroidism, which is when the body doesn’t produce enough hormones, and will likely be placed on thyroid hormone replacement medications.
What are the Risks Associated with Thyroidectomy Surgery?
Any surgery carries risks, in this case, there is a higher risk of bleeding, infection, vocal cord paralysis, and hyperparathyroidism. Additionally, patients may experience a low calcium level, which can lead to cramping, numbness or tingling, and nausea. Speak to your doctor to find out what risks are associated with the procedure.
How Can Patients Take Care of Themselves After a Thyroidectomy?
It’s important for patients to properly follow their doctor’s aftercare plan and to pay close attention to their bodies. Speak to your doctor immediately if you experience any significant pain or any signs of infection such as redness, swelling, or pus. Additionally, it’s important to eat a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, high-fiber foods, and protein. It is also important to continue taking any thyroid hormone medications as prescribed by your doctor, even if you do not feel any symptoms.