The thyroid is an important gland in your body producing a hormone responsible for regulating many body functions. The gland has a left and right side as well as a middle section known as the isthmus. Just as with any other part of the body, things can go awry in this gland requiring a surgical procedure of the partial or full removal of the gland. If a thyroid surgical procedure is in your future, here are some common questions and things you need to know:
Why would a patient require thyroid surgery?
There are a number of reasons someone may require thyroid surgery. The most common of which includes the presence of thyroid nodules. Thyroid nodules of 3 cm or greater or those with rapid charted growth normally require surgery. In addition, those with suspicious cell types as identified through needle biopsy or nodules identified as malignant, are cause for thyroid surgery. Hyperthyroidism that does not respond to medicine may also be grounds for thyroid surgery. During the procedure, a surgeon will remove part or all of the thyroid gland.
What makes an ideal candidate for thyroid surgery?
Generally speaking, most people are acceptable candidates for thyroid surgery. Characteristics that would present concerns in qualifying for the procedure include individuals of advanced age, numerous other medical conditions, previous neck surgery, or previous neck radiation.
How do I prepare for thyroid surgery?
One to two weeks prior to the procedure, you will undergo a number of general screening tests to ensure you are in good health for the surgery. This may include a thorough intake of medical history, physical exam and blood work. Depending on your personal and family history, your surgeon may also require an EKG, chest x-ray, and/or stress test to evaluate your heart and lung function. All of these tests are done in order to ensure there are no pre-existing conditions that would prevent you from having a safe operation.
What happens during the actual procedure?
Thyroid surgery is commonly performed through a one to four inch incision near the base of the front side of the neck. The size of the incision is directly related to the size of the thyroid and how much will be removed. The thyroid gland is narrow in the middle with a lobe on each side. A surgical procedure will entail the removal of one lobe or the entire gland.
As with any medical procedure, there are risks involved with thyroid surgery. However, this is a common procedure, proven to be safe and effective. If you have questions about your pending thyroid surgery with Premier Surgical Associates, contact your physician. . We welcome any questions you have and want you to begin treatment fully aware of the procedure at hand and confident under the compassionate care of Premier Surgical Associates in Knoxville.