Thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in front of the neck, just above the collarbone. It is one of the endocrine glands which make hormones. The thyroid helps set body metabolism. If you have a thyroid disease, your body uses energy more slowly or quickly than it should. A thyroid gland that is not active enough, called hypothyroidism, is far more common. It can make you gain weight, feel fatigued and have difficulty dealing with cold temperatures. If your thyroid is too active, it makes more thyroid hormones than your body needs. That condition is hyperthyroidism. Too much thyroid hormone can make you lose weight, speed up your heart rate and make you very sensitive to heat. Patients with hyperthyroidism, thyroid nodules, simple goiter, multinodular goiter, and thyroid malignancies are referred to endocrinologist for performing surgery. Thyroid surgery is effective, especially for thyroid malignancies.
Surgery for hyperthyroidism (thyroidectomy), large thyroid nodules, or nontoxic goiters may involve removal of much of the thyroid tissue, leaving some intact to continue to produce thyroid hormone. About 70% of patients, who retain half of their thyroid gland will continue with normal thyroid function after the surgery. Those patients who have the entire thyroid removed must take thyroid hormone for the rest of their lives. Patients with thyroid cancer will need special treatments and scans with radioactive iodine. Thyroid surgery for benign nodules, parathyroid surgery, lymph node biopsy, and Vagal Nerve Stimulator (VNS) implantation have traditionally required large incisions to gain access to small areas or structures. In these cases, disfiguring incisions are made in visible areas of the neck simply for surgical access. In response to this problem, less invasive techniques have been developed and are now in practice around the globe.
If you smoke we recommend stopping for at least a week before the surgery. Smoking causes chronic airway irritation. If you have an overactive thyroid gland, you may need medication before surgery to control it. This is very important for your safety during the operation. If you are having any voice or swallowing problem, we may need to evaluate these before surgery. Don’t drink or eat anything after midnight the day before your surgery. Any medication you may be taking for your heart or high blood pressure can be taken with a sip of water when you get up that morning.
You are encouraged to be out of bed walking around the evening of surgery. You may resume normal activity as your comfort level allows. You may shower the next day after surgery. Intravenous fluids and medications that you need will be injected to achieve consciousness after surgery.