Is surgery required for thyroid disorders?
The thyroid gland produces hormones that regulate the metabolism and manage other vital processes of the body. It is situated in front of your neck around the wind pipe. Sometimes you might notice a change in the size and shape of your thyroid gland or swelling in front of your neck. Factors like insufficient iodine intake, or a disruption in the functioning of the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus, could lead to thyroid disorders.
Indications of thyroid surgery
A thyroid surgery is undertaken to treat the following conditions:
Thyroid nodules and goiter
Thyroid nodules are growths/cysts in the thyroid gland. While they are usually harmless, surgery is suggested in the cases where the nodule becomes malignant or interferes with activities like eating or breathing. A goiter is an oversized thyroid gland which is usually benign. Goiters that interfere with breathing, swallowing, or become malignant, have to be treated with surgery.
Hyperthyroidism is a condition which occurs when the body produces excess thyroid hormones. Surgery is performed only in severe cases when this condition does not respond to radioactive iodine and medications.
About 2/3 of thyroid cancer cases occur in people under the age of 55.
Thyoid cancer is more common in women than men. There are different kinds of thyroid cancers, the papillary thyroid cancer being the most common of them. When diagnosed in the early stages, treatment of thyroid cancer has a good prognosis and high survival rates. If the cancer is diagnosed by the fine needle aspiration (FNA), a surgery is usually recommended.
Importance of an endocrine surgeon
The endocrine surgeon decides whether a part or the entire thyroid gland is removed, depending on the type of cancer, the age of the patient, and the severity of the condition. He might suggest a thyroid lobectomy, which involves removing only a part/lobe of the thyroid gland. Total Thyroidectomy is the most common form of thyroid surgery in which the entire thyroid gland is removed. The radioactive iodine therapy and the hormone therapy can be added to your treatment depending upon the stage of tumour.
From evaluating your thyroid disorder to deciding the course of treatment, the experience and expertise of the endocrine surgeon have a huge role play. He will also suggest the relevant follow-up treatment after thyroid surgery.