Thyroidectomy is a surgical procedure to remove whole or a part of the thyroid gland.
This gland located at the base of the neck is responsible for producing hormones that control metabolism. If only a portion of thyroid is removed, then the gland performs normally. However, if the entire gland is removed then medications have to be taken daily.
Thyroidectomy is sugged by the doctor in following cases:
Overactive Thyroid (Hyperthyroidism): A condition when the thyroid gland produces hormone thyroxine in excess. This condition can be be treated medically by taking anti-thyroid medicines and therapy of radioactive iodine.
Goitre: Non cancerous growth of thyroid gland causing hyperthyroidism or causing difficulty in swallowing or breathing is goitre.
The doctor will recommend
To undergo a few tests, such as imaging tests, CT scan, ultrasound, etc. to identify the location of the abnormal thyroid growth.
Fine needle aspiration to identify whether the growth is cancerous or not, in some cases
Iodine treatments or thyroid medicine 1 or 2 weeks before the surgery to reduce the risk of bleeding and regulate the function of the gland
Stopping blood thinning medications at least 10 days before the procedure
Fasting 8 to 10 hours prior to the surgery
The procedure is performed under general anesthesia by an experienced general or laparoscopic surgeon. It can take upto 3 hours.
Depending on the reason for the surgery, any of the below mentioned technique can be used:
Open Thyroidectomy: An incision in made in the center of the neck to access the thyroid gland directly. The gland is removed and incision is sutured.
Laparoscopic Thyroidectomy: 3 to 4 minor incisions are made in the neck to insert a small video camera and surgical tools. Using the tools, the surgeon will remove entire or a part of the gland.
A small tube may be put inside for 1 to 2 days to empty blood and other fluid that may build up.
In case of cancer, lymph nodes besided the gland are examined and removed if required.
It is common that the patient experiences pain in the throat and has a weak voice, after the procedure. These are temporary conditions.
The patient will be discharged in 1 to 2 days after the surgery. Most of the patients can eat and drink normally in a few days.
Risk and Complications
Thyroidectomy is a relatively safe procedure. However, certain known complications are
Possible obstruction of air passage
Difficulty in breathing
Nerve Injury in your larynx or vocal cord
Injury to parathyroid glands resulting in low levels of calcium and high levels of phosphorous in blood
Cost of the surgery ranges from INR 2,00,000 to 3,50,000 in top Indian hospitals.
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