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Our head and neck surgeon in McKinney, TX, also performs thyroid operations for various conditions. The thyroid is shaped like a butterfly and this gland is just below the voice box. The thyroid makes hormones needed by tissues in the body and carried through the blood. It helps regulate the metabolic process your body uses to turn what you eat into energy. The thyroid helps organs function correctly and maintains body temperature.
If your thyroid becomes overactive it may produce too many hormones which can cause various problems for you. The thyroid can swell or develop cysts, and sometimes surgery is the best way to correct these problems. At NextGen OMS, we perform thyroid surgery as well as other procedures for the head and neck region of the body. Dr. Eftekhari has received specialized training in this type of surgery and can remove part or all of the thyroid as required by your particular condition.
Why You Might Need Thyroid Surgery
Some people develop tumors or nodules on the gland itself. This requires surgery if the growth is cancerous or precancerous. If the nodules are benign, they may still have to be removed if they interfere with other structures in the area. Nodules that grow on the thyroid, whether cancerous or non-cancerous, can grow large enough to block the throat or may cause the thyroid to produce too many hormones, a condition referred to as hyperthyroidism.
Dr. Eftekhari is an experienced head and neck surgeon who can correct hyperthyroidism, often caused by Graves’ disease, which is an autoimmune disorder. If you have Graves’ disease, your body attacks the thyroid gland, thinking it is a foreign body. The thyroid becomes inflamed and produces too many hormones which can cause other problems in your body.
If you have an enlarged thyroid gland, also known as a goiter, it can interfere with speaking, breathing and eating. In this case, we can perform surgery to correct the problem and restore your ability to eat and speak normally.
Types of Thyroid Surgery
The three main thyroid surgeries are listed below and include a thyroidectomy, partial thyroidectomy or lobectomy.
If a nodule growing on the thyroid becomes inflamed or only affects part of the gland, your head and neck surgeon can remove one of the two lobes of the thyroid. The other lobe retains its functionality and continues to produce the hormones your body needs.
A partial or subtotal thyroidectomy requires the removal of the thyroid while leaving behind some thyroid tissue to preserve the functionality of the gland. Many patients who have this surgery subsequently develop hypothyroidism. In this condition, the thyroid cannot produce all the hormones your body needs and you will have to take daily supplements.
Sometimes, the entire thyroid has to be removed. If the swelling and inflammation have affected the entire gland or you have cancer of the thyroid, you may need a total thyroidectomy.
What to Expect During Thyroid Surgery
You will receive instructions when you meet with the doctor for a consultation and we will also provide written instructions for what to do before and after your surgery. Typically, you won’t be able to drink or eat anything after midnight the day before your surgery.
At the hospital, you will check in and go to the appropriate area. An IV in your arm delivers fluids and medication to help you prepare for the surgery. You will meet with Dr. Eftekhari before the surgery. He will perform an exam and answer questions that you may have. You may also meet with the anesthesiologist prior to the procedure.
When you receive the anesthesia, it may feel cold. Some patients report a stinging sensation that quickly passes as you fall into a deep sleep.
The head and neck surgeon makes an incision over the thyroid and uses it to access the gland. Then, some or all of the gland is taken out. Although it is a relatively simple procedure, there are many nerves and glands that surround the thyroid and the operation typically takes about two hours.
In some cases, patients undergo robotic thyroidectomy. During this surgery, the head and neck surgeon takes out the thyroid through an incision under the arm or mouth.
Following the Head and Neck Surgeon Procedure
Typically, you can return to normal activities within 24 hours. However, wait at least 10 days before engaging in high impact activities or exercise.
You will have a sore throat for the first few days and can take the medication prescribed or recommended by the doctor to alleviate soreness.
Following the surgery, if you have hypothyroidism the head and neck surgeon will prescribe hormones to keep your body functioning properly. It sometimes takes a few adjustments to get the best dosage for your needs.
Risks of Thyroid Surgery
Every major surgery has certain risks attached to it. With thyroid surgery you may have a reaction to general anesthesia or develop heavy bleeding. In rare cases, patients develop an infection that needs to be treated following the surgery.
Contact a Head and Neck Surgeon
More common risks associated with thyroid surgery include damage to the nerves that connect to your vocal cords. If any damage occurs to the parathyroid gland you may need calcium supplements.
The head and neck surgeon will inform you of all of the risk prior to surgery so that you can be fully aware of what to expect.
At NextGen OMS, our experienced head and neck surgeon is passionate about patient education and wants you to understand the procedure. So feel free to ask us any questions that you may have when you come in for a consultation. Contact us today for an appointment with our head and neck surgeon in McKinney, TX.