A perfectly healthy thyroid gland

Thyroid gland regulates metabolism in human body. Thyroid cells extract iodine from the blood and use it in thyroid hormones. It is a butterfly-shaped gland located in front of the trachea and just below the larynx. It is comprised of two halves, known as lobes, which are attached by a band of thyroid tissue called the isthmus.

What could go wrong with your thyroid?
Injuries, diseases or dietary deficiency lead to disorders in the thyroid. Such disorders lead to the following problems:

• Thyroid cancer: The thyroid cells begin to change or mutate. These cells multiply abnormally and form a tumour since they do not die naturally.

• Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid gland)- Excessive production of the hormone thyroxin. Thyroidectomy is a good option if the patient has any problem with anti-thyroid drugs or radioactive iodine therapy.

• Large goitre or thyroid nodules causing symptomatic obstruction such as swallowing or breathing difficulties.

• Multi-nodular Goitre has multiple nodules and thus is bigger than a normal goitre. Sometimes, it is difficult to determine whether the nodules are cancerous or non-cancerous. Thyroidectomy is suggested in such cases.

How to cure these problems?

The dysfunctional part of the thyroid can be removed surgically by thyroidectomy. You need to see an oncologist who is experienced in this technique. One such doctor is Dr Sandeep Nayak, who is a pioneer in this technique and an expert for thyroidectomy. Having done fellowship in laparoscopic and robotic cancer surgeries, he is one of the best cancer specialist in Bangalore.

Before Surgery

Firstly, the doctor has to be provided with the lab and imaging tests so that proper evaluation can be done of the infection. The food, beverage and medicines are to be taken as prescribed by the doctor. The body is monitored to ensure that the heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen remain at safe level.

During Surgery

The patient is put on sleep with general anaesthesia and then incisions are made at a place so that after healing it gets hidden in a skin crease. The affected part of thyroid gland is then removed through this incision. There three types of thyroidectomy. Your doctor will consider any of the following approach based on the condition. Dr Sandeep being an expert in this kind of techniques, majorly relies on these techniques being invasive. Dr Nayak being one of the best oncologist in India advises his patients for this technique as they help in faster recovery.

They are as follows:

1) Conventional thyroidectomy: An incision is made in the centre of the neck to directly access thyroid gland. It is the most common approach to this procedure.

2) Transoral thyroidectomy: An incision is made inside the mouth to avoid a neck incision by using.

3) Endoscopic thyroidectomy: This approach uses smaller incisions in the neck. Surgical instruments and a small video camera are inserted through the incisions. The camera guides your surgeon through the procedure.

After Surgery

Thyroid surgery usually goes very smooth. A little pain in the neck area can be observed, but medicine will help. The patient is likely to have hoarse voice or sore throat for a few days it gets better with time. There may be a drain from the site of the incision. It helps with healing and will later be removed. The patient’s discharge depends upon the type of operation and how well is the patient doing. Before the discharge, the patient is given proper instructions about after-care post operation and the follow up. Eating and drinking after the surgery is done on the depending upon the type of surgery. Day to day activities can be continued after the surgery, however, heavy exercise needs to be avoided till 7 to 10 days.

How much of the thyroid gland is removed in thyroidectomy? How does the body fuction after that?
Yes, how much of the thyroid is removed, depends upon the damage caused. On this basis, thyroidectomy is bifurcated into two types. They are as follows:

I. Partial thyroidectomy: If only part of your thyroid is removed it is called partial thyroidectomy. In this case, the remaining portion typically takes over the function of the entire thyroid gland. Further, one may not even need thyroid hormone therapy.

II. Complete thyroidectomy: If your entire thyroid is removed it is called complete thyroidectomy. In this case, the body can't make thyroid hormone and without replacement the patient develops signs and symptoms of underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism). As a result, the patient needs to take proper medication (generally a pill every day) that contains the synthetic thyroid hormone levothyroxine . This medication has similar effects on the body making easy survival possible with thyroid gland.

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