Thyroid & Parathyroid Surgery

Thyroid surgery is used to treat several different thyroid conditions such as nodules, cancer and hyperthyroidism. Surgery is often considered a last resort for thyroid conditions and may be used if more conservative treatments have failed, a condition is recurring or cancer is present. Thyroid surgery removes part or all of the thyroid gland, depending on the type and severity of the condition.

The different types of thyroid surgery include:

  • Thyroid lobectomy – only the lobe of the thyroid is removed if a thyroid nodule is confined to just that area. This may also be performed with an isthmusectomy to remove the isthmus, the structure that connects the two lobes.

  • Subtotal thyroidectomy – one complete lobe, the isthmus and part of the other lobe is removed. This is typically used for hyperthyroidism caused by Graves’ disease and small cancers.

  • Total thyroidectomy – the entire thyroid gland and surrounding lymph nodes are removed. This is the most common procedure for thyroid cancer to completely remove the disease.

If the entire thyroid is removed, you will need to take thyroid hormone replacement drugs, usually for the rest of your life. The lack of a thyroid will often bring about signs of hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid. Symptoms of hypothyroidism may include fatigue, exhaustion, depression, and difficulty concentrating.

Thyroid surgeries are performed through an incision in the middle of the neck. The procedure usually takes about two hours and is done under general anesthesia. An overnight hospital stay is required, but most patients are able to resume normal activities the day after surgery. Strenuous activities should be avoided for at least 10 days after surgery. Thyroid surgeries are considered safe procedures with few complications. Some people may experience hoarseness or a sore throat because of the breathing tube used during surgery.

Parathyroid Surgery

The most common disease associated with the parathyroid glands is overproduction of parathyroid hormone (PTH), known as hyperparathyroidism. Although medication is available to treat hyperparathyroidism, surgery is most often recommended and is the only cure. Surgical removal of one or more parathyroid glands is called a parathyroidectomy.

A small incision will be made in your neck to remove the gland. Your particular problem will determine how many of the parathyroid glands need to be removed. Some parathyroid tissue, however, must be left in place to help prevent hypoparathyroidism (decreased parathyroid activity).

In most cases of hyperparathyroidism, only one gland has to be removed and a less invasive procedure called minimally-invasive radio-guided parathyroid (MIRP) surgery can be performed. MIRP surgery requires a much smaller incision and quicker recovery period.

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Voice & Swallowing Disorders

Though we often take our ability to eat and speak for granted, many people have difficulty with these tasks and may experience pain, discomfort and lack of control when trying to speak. Voice and swallowing problems can develop as a result of aging, overuse, surgery smoking or throat cancer, and may include laryngitis, spasmodic dysphonia, vocal cord paralysis, cancer of the vocal cord, benign growths and more.

Our doctors provide comprehensive diagnostic and treatment services for a wide range of voice and swallowing disorders and are specially trained to help you restore function to your voice.

While many of these problems accompany a cold or other minor condition, some are chronic and may require special management to control or cure the condition. Patients may benefit from voice therapy, medicine or surgery, depending on their individual condition. It is also important for patients to protect their voice by practicing breathing techniques, avoiding smoking, alcohol and caffeine and by drinking plenty of water.

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