Thyroid & Parathyroid Surgery

Know your options for common thyroid problems.

The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland that is located in front of the trachea and creates hormones that regulate the use of energy in the body. If your thyroid isn’t working properly, your body may not be either. There are 27 million Americans that are affected by an overactive or underactive thyroid.

Who Has a Higher Risk of Developing Thyroid Issues?

  • Women (most common)
  • Patients age 60 and older
  • Women with a recent pregnancy
  • Patients with a family history of thryoid disease

Typically, thyroid surgery is necessary to treat two main problems related to the thyroid: thyroid nodules (abnormal growths in the thyroid that may be cancerous) and thyroid cancer. Longstreet Clinic’s general surgeons¬†surgeons are highly qualified to treat each of these conditions and have a great deal of experience in performing the surgical procedures necessary. During the procedure, some or all of the thyroid gland is removed, depending on the severity of the condition.

Symptoms of a Thyroid Imbalance

Underactive Thyroid (Hypothyroidism)

  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Weight gain
  • Mood swings
  • Constipation
  • Hoarse voice

Overactive Thyroid (Hyperthyroidism)

  • Weight loss
  • Thyroid enlargement
  • Heat intolerance, sweating
  • Changes in vision
  • Fatigue, muscle weakness
  • Menstrual disturbance

Types of Thyroid Surgery

During your initial consultation, your surgeon will discuss with you the appropriate type of procedure for your particular case. With that in mind, there are four distinct procedures that your surgeon may recommend:

  • Total thyroidectomy:¬†Your surgeon will remove the entire gland and possibly the lymph nodes surrounding the gland.
  • Thyroid lobectomy with or without an isthmectomy:¬†If your thyroid nodules are located in one lobe, your surgeon may remove only that lobe. With the addition of an isthmectomy, the band of tissue that connects the two lobes also is removed. After the surgery, your nodule will be examined under a microscope to see whether there are any cancer cells.

For the most part, recovery after any type of thyroid surgery is minimal. Most thyroidectomies are outpatient procedures. Some patients are even able to go home just a few hours after surgery. In general, you should be able to return to your normal routine after one to two weeks. If your procedure was performed to determine if cancer is present in the thyroid gland, results from the pathologist usually will be available about a week after surgery.

Parathyroid Surgery

The parathyroid glands control the calcium level in your body. When these glands malfunction, patients typically present with hypercalcemia (an abnormally high calcium level). Patients with hyperparathyroidism also can suffer from kidney stones, bone pain, osteopenia or osteoporosis, and depression.

Primary hyperparathyroidism is usually due to either a single parathyroid tumor (parathyroid adenoma) or to enlargement of all four parathyroid glands (parathyroid hyperplasia). Both of these problems are treated with surgical excision, parathyroidectomy.

Pre-operative workup for hyperparathyroidism is essential to best-practice parathyroid surgery. This may include ultrasound, nuclear medicine scan (Sestamibi scan) or CT scan.

There are two main types of surgery done for abnormal parathyroid glands: traditional parathyroidectomy with four gland exploration and minimally invasive parathyroidectomy.

  • Traditional parathyroidectomy: This approach involves visualizing all four glands through a small incision in the neck. Once the abnormal gland is identified, it can be removed. This surgery often is combined with intra-operative PTH monitoring.
  • Minimally invasive parathyroidectomy: In this procedure, the abnormal parathyroid gland is located pre-operatively by pre-op imaging studies. The surgeon experienced in minimally invasive surgery can then remove the affected gland through a small incision. This surgery sometimes can be done under local anesthesia. Intra-operative PTH monitoring is essential. Longstreet Clinic General Surgery has extensive experience in minimally invasive parathyroidectomy.

To discuss about potential thyroid or parathyroid problems, schedule a consultation today by calling 770-536-2323.

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