Tired of thyroid problems? A thyroidectomy procedure can be quicker than you think.
If you have been having trouble breathing or swallowing, you may want to ask your doctor to check your thyroid gland. Below we have information on what a Thyroid gland is and the treatments available.
What is the thyroid gland?
The thyroid gland is a structure in your neck that produces a hormone called thyroxine, which regulates your body's metabolism. Your thyroid gland has become enlarged (thyroid goitre). This can cause an unsightly appearance, or affect your breathing or swallowing.
What are the benefits to surgery?
Removing the gland will improve the appearance of your neck. It will also prevent or cure breathing or swallowing difficulties.
Are there any alternatives to surgery?
It may be possible to treat your condition with medication such as thyroxine tablets. You can decide not to have the swelling treated.
What does the operation involve?
The operation is performed under a general anaesthetic, and on average, it takes between 90 minutes to 2 hours. Your surgeon will begin by making a cut on your neck in the line of one of your skin creases, and then remove most, or all, of the thyroid gland.
What complications can happen?
Like all surgical procedures, there are some complications that can be serious and can even cause death. Please bear in mind the general and specific complications regarding this type of operation.
General complications of any operation
- Infection of the surgical site (wound)
- Unsightly scarring of your skin
- Blood clot in your leg
- Blood clot in your lung
Specific complications of this operation
- Change in your voice
- Drop in calcium levels in your blood
- Thyroid hormone levels in your blood will drop
- Breathing difficulties
How soon will I recover?
Depending on how well the surgery goes, you should be able to go home after 1 to 2 days. In order to avoid any infections, it’s recommended for you to return to work and normal activities after about 2 weeks. This will depend on how much surgery you need and your type of work.
Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice. Most people make a full recovery and can return to normal activities after having this type of procedure done. However, the healthcare team will usually arrange for you to come back to the clinic within 4 weeks. Your surgeon will tell you the results and discuss with you any treatment or follow-up you need.
Thyroid goitre can cause an unsightly appearance, or affect your breathing or swallowing. A thyroidectomy to remove the thyroid gland is sometimes recommended to treat this condition. To find out more, call us on 0808 101 0337.
Author: Mr Keith Rigg FRCS MD
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