What To Expect During A Thyroidectomy

What To Expect During A Thyroidectomy

Blog Synopsis:

  • The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that produces hormones and controls a person’s metabolism.
  • If the thyroid has been affected by a disorder such as cancer, an enlargement (goiter), hypo- or hyperthyroidism, it may need to be removed.
  • In this blog, the ENT physicians at AOC explain what patients can expect during a thyroidectomy.

Located at the base of the neck, the thyroid is a complex gland that has numerous functions including producing hormones, regulating the metabolism, controlling body temperature, and maintaining a person’s heart rate. Thyroid hormones are vitally important, and if the thyroid gland produces too little or too many hormones, many negative health consequences can ensue. The two most common conditions affecting the thyroid include hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.

What is Hyperthyroidism?

The Latin prefix “hyper” means “over,” which is why hyperthyroidism describes a thyroid that produces too many hormones, also known as an overactive thyroid. There are many underlying conditions that could lead to an overactive thyroid such as an autoimmune dysfunction or Graves disease. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism generally include:

  • Hot flashes
  • Weight loss
  • Hair loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Muscle weakness

What is Hypothyroidism?

The Latin prefix “hypo” means “under.” Hypothyroidism is a condition that causes the thyroid gland to produce too few hormones. Similar to hyperthyroidism, there are many reasons why the function of the thyroid gland slows, some of which include Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, lack of iodine, and chronic inflammation of the thyroid. Possible symptoms of hypothyroidism may include:

  • Weight gain
  • Fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Dry skin
  • Sensitivity to cold
  • Cognitive dysfunction
  • Hoarse voice
  • Brittle hair and nails
  • Depression

A thyroidectomy may be performed on patients with hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, thyroid cancer, or an enlarged thyroid (goiter). If your AOC physician recommends a thyroidectomy, here’s what you can expect during the procedure (generally speaking, of course):

  • First, your physician will administer general anesthesia. Various monitors will be set up to regulate heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen levels, etc.
  • Once you’re unconscious, your surgeon will make incisions either at the top or center of your neck to perform an endoscopic thyroidectomy. He or she may make incisions in the chest or armpit to perform a robotic thyroidectomy if your situation calls for it.
  • Depending on the reason for your surgery, all or part of the thyroid will be removed. Lymph nodes may also be removed in the event of thyroid cancer.
  • As soon as the necessary tissue has been removed, the surgeon will sew up the incisions and send you to a recovery room.

You may need to stay in the hospital overnight to ensure proper healing. A hoarse or weak voice accompanied by a sore throat is normal following a thyroidectomy. Your doctor will educate you on post-procedural care items to help with recovery. If you have questions about your impending thyroidectomy, call AOC today to schedule an appointment with your physician. He or she will be able to walk you through the process and ease any stress prior to your procedure.  

Arizona Otolaryngology Consultants (AOC) is a comprehensive ENT clinic that provides care for all diseases of the ears, nose, throat, and sinuses. The physicians at AOC have the highest level of training and expertise in ENT care and ENT subspecialty care, which includes the management of pediatric airway, cancer, skull base surgery, advanced head and neck surgical and reconstructive procedures, craniofacial surgery and more. Call 602-264-4834 to request an appointment today!

The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.

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