What Is The Thyroid Gland?
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the front of the neck. The thyroid only has one function in life – to produce thyroid hormone at just the right amounts for the proper function of each person. Thyroid hormone affects almost every organ system. For example, thyroid hormones regulate heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature, and control the rate at which food is converted into energy. They affect the nervous system, muscles, and other organs.
Why is Thyroid Surgery Performed?
The most common reason for thyroid surgery is the presence of abnormal growths, or nodules, on the thyroid. Sometimes, these nodules can be cancerous. The decision to operate is made after careful consideration of the patient’s history and the results of tests that have been done to evaluate the nodules and the functioning of the thyroid gland.
How long will I be in the hospital for thyroid surgery?
You will be admitted to the hospital on the morning of your surgery and have to stay for one night in the hospital.
What is done during thyroid surgery?
There are several different procedures that may be done depending on your diagnosis and evaluation:
- Thyroid lobectomy – one half of the thyroid is removed
- Total thyroidectomy – the entire thyroid gland is removed
- Lymph node dissection – removal of some lymph nodes around the thyroid gland.
Will I have pain after the operation?
You will have some pain, but this can be treated very effectively with small doses of pain medicine. These things will get better fairly quickly and you will not need to be on long term pain medicines for thyroid surgery.
When can I resume work and other routine activities?
Most patients can return to work 1-2 weeks and perform all your normal activities by 3-4 weeks after surgery.
Will I have a scar in my neck?
You will have a scar in the lower neck. The incision will be closed with stitches placed under your skin that are not visible. These stitches dissolve after a period of time and do not need to be removed. Over time, the scar will fade. It may take up to 6 months, but in most cases, the scar lightens to where it is barely noticeable.