What is the thyroid gland?
- The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped organ located in the center of the lower neck, just below the Adam’s apple. It produces thyroid hormone, which helps to control metabolism, temperature regulation, and proper functioning of many other organs in the body.
Why might I need to see a surgeon for my thyroid gland?
- Surgery may be required for a number of different thyroid conditions:
- The presence of a growth (called a “nodule”) within the thyroid that has been biopsied and found to be cancerous or suspicious for cancer.
- Enlargement of the thyroid gland (called “goiter”) to the point that it begins causing neck discomfort, difficulty swallowing or breathing or is undesirable in appearance.
- A problem with thyroid hormone regulation (like hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism) that has not been able to be successfully controlled with medications.
Who should do my thyroid surgery?
- The thyroid gland is located close to several important structures that need to be safely preserved during thyroid surgery. Studies have consistently shown that surgeons who perform a high volume of thyroid surgery have better outcomes with lower complication rates and easier recovery for patients. At Beach Cities ENTS, we are proud to have surgeons who dedicate a large portion of their practice to thyroid surgery and who have undergone extensive training in thyroid surgery at some of the top academic institutions in the country.
Undergoing Surgery for Thyroid Conditions
- The decision about whether or not a person needs thyroid surgery is often straightforward, but sometimes it is not so obvious. In many cases, the decision is made together between the patient, the surgeon, and the endocrinologist (a medical doctor who specializes in hormone-producing glands, including the thyroid). Some factors that your doctors may take into consideration when deciding whether or not to recommend surgery include: Is there a risk for cancer, and if so, how high? Is your thyroid condition causing bothersome symptoms? Is there a viable alternative treatment that does not require surgery? Are you physically fit enough to undergo surgery?
- Have you been told you have a thyroid nodule?
- Have you been told you need to have your thyroid gland removed?
- Have you been diagnosed with thyroid cancer, or told you may have thyroid cancer?
- Do you have an enlarged thyroid gland that is starting to cause discomfort?