If you suspect you have a thyroid condition, schedule a consultation with Associated Endocrinologists. We can perform onsite laboratory testing and perform treatments for removing thyroid nodules such as RFA (radiofrequency Ablation). An endocrinologist at our practice can evaluate your thyroid condition and may recommend the partial or total removal of your thyroid.
Conditions such as thyroid cancer and potentially cancerous nodules requiring a biopsy are some of the most common reasons we would refer you to a thyroid surgeon outside our practice for a total or partial thyroidectomy. You may also need thyroid surgery if your benign thyroid nodule or goiter is causing symptoms due to its size or production of thyroid hormones.
Talking with your doctors ahead of time can help you learn what to expect and how to prepare for your surgery.
How to Prepare for Thyroid Surgery
Before your surgery, your doctor needs to know your medical history and perform a physical exam to make sure you’re healthy enough for the procedure. They may require you to have an electrocardiogram (EKG) or a chest X-ray if you’re over 45 or have underlying heart disease. You may need blood tests before surgery if you suffer from a bleeding disorder or take medications that affect the clotting of your blood.
Thyroid patients who have previously undergone neck surgery, are experiencing changes in their voice, or are suspected of having thyroid cancer need a vocal cord evaluation before their operation. This allows your doctor to determine if the nerves controlling your vocal cords are functioning properly.
Patients who are approved and scheduled for surgery will need to stop taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) at least a week before their surgery to minimize the risk of blood loss. You must not eat or drink anything at least 12 hours before the scheduled start of your surgery. Your doctor will give you specific instructions to follow before your thyroid surgery.
What Happens During Surgery
You will have your operation in a hospital or surgical center. Once you arrive, you’ll change into a hospital gown before having an IV inserted into your arm. Your surgeon will meet with you before your surgery to go over the surgical plans and answer any questions.
General anesthesia is administered, and a breathing tube is placed in your throat once you’re in the operating room. To begin your surgery, the doctor makes a small incision in the front of your neck. The surgeon then removes part or all of your thyroid. They also remove lymph nodes near your thyroid for biopsy if you have thyroid cancer.
After removing your thyroid, your surgeon closes your incision and covers it with steri strips. You’ll be moved to a recovery room until you wake up. The length of your surgery depends on the type of procedure being performed, but most thyroidectomies are completed within one to two hours. You can leave the hospital the same day as your surgery unless your doctor recommends you stay overnight.
After Your Thyroid Surgery
You can eat and drink immediately after surgery and resume normal daily activities. More rigorous activities and exercise should be avoided for a week following surgery. If you have neck pain following your surgery, your doctor may prescribe prescription or over-the-counter pain medication for you to use. You may also have a sore throat after your surgery from the breathing tube placement.
If your entire thyroid gland is removed in surgery, your doctor will start you on thyroid hormone replacements immediately. All patients may have their thyroid hormone levels checked after surgery to prevent health problems from forming.
A common complication from a total thyroidectomy is low calcium. This happens when your parathyroid glands, located directly behind the thyroid, are damaged during surgery. Your doctor may want to check your calcium levels in the weeks following the procedure to ensure this issue hasn’t occurred.
Manage Your Thyroid Health With Associated Endocrinologists
Your thyroid produces and releases hormones that control essential bodily functions. Thyroid diseases such as hyperthyroidism, nodules, and cancer change how your thyroid works and could have a negative impact on your overall health.
Routine care with a doctor specializing in thyroid disorders and diseases, like our team at Associated Endocrinologists, helps manage your thyroid health.
We treat thyroid patients through physical exams, routine lab monitoring and offer thyroid testing services onsite. If your condition requires thyroid surgery, we can provide a referral to an experienced surgeon. Contact us today to make a virtual or in-person appointment.