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Thyroid Surgery: Thyroidectomy
As thyroid is an endocrine gland, it secretes its products inside the body into the blood. These products consist of several hormones. They have the primary functions of increasing the synthesis of proteins in body tissues and also raising the level of oxygen consumption by the body. All or part of the thyroid gland may be required to be removed from the body to treat variety of diseases.
Thyroidectomy may be required when the hyper metabolism cannot be convincingly controlled by medication. If the hyper metabolism occurs in a child or pregnant woman the doctors may advise to undergo thyroidectomy. The cancerous and non cancerous tumors developed in the thyroid gland must be removed along with some or the entire gland.
An enlarged thyroid may create a lump on the neck that a patient may consider unsightly and wish to eliminate it through thyroidectomy. Another reason for undergoing thyroidectomy among patients is to alleviate the pressure symptoms or respiratory difficulties due to benign or malignant process.
The surgeon makes an incision in the front of the neck. Proper care is taken while freeing the thyroid gland. Injury to the parathyroid glands and the recurrent laryngeal nerves can be fatal so it is very critical to protect these structures from any damage. Hoarseness or voice loss may occur if the laryngeal nerve is damaged during the surgery. Nerve damage is very much possible to occur in people with large goiters or cancerous tumors.
Then the surgeon removes all or part of the gland depending on the requirement. If cancer exists in that part it is necessary that all or most of the gland is removed. If other diseases or nodules are present then only that part of the gland needs to be removed.
There may be bleeding at the site of the operation which is drained using a surgical drain. Blood transfusion or another operation is very rarely required in this case. If the entire thyroid gland is removed the patients are required to continue the intake of thyroid hormone replacement tablets for life to supply the body with the hormone. Medical monitoring in the hospital for 1-4 days is required after this surgery.