The purpose of thyroid surgery is the full or partial removal of the thyroid gland located at the base of your neck close to your larynx and trachea.
At Herzliya Medical Center experienced ENT specialists and endocrinologist work in unison when it comes down to a thyroid operation and whether doctors decide over partial or total thyroidectomy depends on a variety of factors. The total removal of thyroid should be a last resort, as without this metabolism-regulating gland, patients have to take artificial thyroid hormones life long.
The most frequent reasons patients at Herzliya Medical Center undergo the removal of thyroid glands:
- Thyroid cysts
- Graves’ disease
- Thyroid nodules
- Suspicious thyroid mass
- Papillary, follicular or medullary thyroid cancer
- Hyperthyroidism - Thyroidectomy is an option only when the enlargement of the gland interferes with breathing or swallowing and the condition fails to respond to medications and radioactive iodine therapy.
Types of thyroidectomy conducted at Herzliya Medical Center
Thyroid lobectomy - If the enlargement, cysts or nodules affect only one lobe of the thyroid gland, a thyroid lobectomy may suffice. During this intervention the specialist removes only one lobe along with the tissue that connects the two lobes. If during post-op cytology cancerous cells are identified in the removed thyroid mass, another total thyroidectomy may be imperative.
Subtotal thyroidectomy - It means an almost total removal of thyroid, principally indicated because of Graves’ disease. During this type of thyroid operation one lobe and part of the other lobe are excised and sent for further lab analysis.
Total thyroidectomy - It is a radical step to remove the entire thyroid gland and its lymph nodes but in cases such as cancerous growth, it can be a life saving solution.
Thyroid operation protocols at Herzliya Medical Center
- At Herzliya Medical Center, be it a total thyroidectomy or thyroid lobectomy, before patients are scheduled for a thyroid operation - even if they already have a biopsy, cytology and ultrasound images reports from other medical institutions - are subject to a thorough pre-op examination, including lab tests, cytology, biopsy, ultrasound examination, chest X-ray and ECG, depending on their indications.
- During thyroidectomy, patients are given general anesthesia before the operation. Depending on the surgical technique, there may be a single 3-4 inch long incision at the base of your neck or, if the surgeon opts for an endoscopic solution, they make several smaller incisions around the gland to be able to introduce the camera and necessary instruments. A relatively new technique is robotic thyroidectomy, the benefit of which is the fact that the removal of thyroid is conducted through incisions made in the armpit or chest, avoiding the delicate site of the neck.
- The operation may take from 2-4 hours depending on the extent of the thyroid mass to be removed.
- Patients are observed for one or two days post-op. For a week patients give accounts of neck pain, difficulty to speak and changed voice, but normally these symptoms go away soon.
- Patients are usually back to their daily routine within ten days after a thyroid surgery.
- After a complete thyroidectomy, patients experience symptoms of hypothyroidism, that is, an underactive thyroid. To replace thyroid activity, a synthetic hormone called levothyroxine needs to be administered permanently. Doctors also see to proper calcium replacement after surgery.