Around 20 million Americans live with some type of thyroid disease. Some thyroid diseases, such as thyroid cancer, enlarged thyroid, or certain types of overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) require surgery to remove the thyroid gland, known as thyroidectomy. At Beach Cities ENTS in Torrance, California, the team of ear, nose, and throat specialists offers the highest level of expertise in thyroid surgery and thyroidectomy procedures. If you have a thyroid disorder and are looking for a board-certified team of surgeons with special expertise thyroidectomy, call Beach Cities ENTS in the South Bay or make an appointment online today.
A thyroidectomy is a surgical procedure to remove your thyroid in part (lobectomy) or in its entirety (total thyroidectomy). The surgery only involves a small incision and takes between two and three hours.
Your thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped organ at the center of your lower neck that controls metabolism, temperature, and the functioning of other organs in your body.
There are several reasons that your Beach Cities ENTS doctor might recommend a thyroidectomy, including:
Thyroid cancer is the most common reason for thyroid surgery. Thyroid cancer is one of the top ten most common cancers, with over 50,000 new cases in the U.S. every year; and is the number ONE cause of cancer in women between the ages of 20 and 34. Luckily, it is easily treated with thyroidectomy, resulting in high survival rates.
A goiter is a noncancerous enlargement of your thyroid. There is often a link between goiters and hyper or hypoactive thyroid function, iodine deficiency, or multiple thyroid nodules. Goiters sometimes run in the family as well. In some cases when the thyroid becomes very enlarged, a goiter can interfere with your ability to breathe or swallow.
If your thyroid produces too much of the hormone thyroxine (T4), it is hyperactive. A hyperactive thyroid causes many disruptive symptoms, including insomnia, sweating, palpitations, and unintended weight loss.
If you don’t respond well to other treatments for a hyperactive thyroid like radioactive iodine therapy or anti-thyroid drugs, your doctor may suggest thyroidectomy to remove the overactive thyroid gland.
Thyroid nodules may or may not become cancerous. However, in some cases, even a needle biopsy can’t determine whether or not a nodule is cancerous. Your doctor may recommend a thyroidectomy if there is a concern about the possibility of cancer in a thyroid nodule, or if you have an increased risk of thyroid cancer.
At Beach Cities ENTS, the surgeons have undergone extensive training in thyroid surgery at top academic institutions in the country, so you can rest assured you are in good hands. In addition, studies show that surgeons experienced in thyroid surgery yield lower complications rates with an easier patient recovery.
Before deciding if you need surgery, your surgeon does a comprehensive evaluation to determine if there is a risk for cancer, if your thyroid is causing bothersome symptoms, if there’s an alternative option to surgery, and if you’re physically fit enough to undergo surgery.
If you do decide to undergo thyroid surgery, it occurs while you’re under general anesthesia, so you don’t feel anything and sleep comfortably throughout the procedure. The surgery is performed through a small incision in the front of your neck. The surgeons at Beach Cities ENTS understand the importance of a carefully designed incision, and are trained in advanced plastic surgery techniques to minimize the appearance of the incision.
In most cases, if you have a partial thyroidectomy, you can go home on the same day of your procedure. If you have a full (total) thyroidectomy, you will usually need to stay overnight in the hospital for monitoring.
Your Beach Cities ENTS doctor gives you customized advice and instructions when you’re released. For example, if you have your full thyroid removed, you will usually begin to take thyroid hormone medicine and calcium supplements right after surgery.
Everyone has different thresholds for pain, but most patients report that recovery from thyroidectomy isn’t too painful. Your doctor can prescribe a mild painkiller to reduce any pain for the first few days after surgery. You may have a sore throat for a few days and prefer to eat soft foods, but most patients are able to resume their normal foods within one or two days.
If you are concerned about your thyroid health or need a surgeon to perform a thyroidectomy, call Beach Cities ENTS or make an appointment online today.