Should you undergo Thyroid Surgery?

A part of the endocrine system is a butterfly-shaped gland comprised of two lobes that is found at the larynx or the front of the neck. This is called the thyroid gland. Compared to other organs that is commonly heard about (e.g. heart, lungs, etc.), the thyroid gland may not be as popular, unless a person gets diagnose with a condition or disease that affects it. But, did you know that the thyroid gland has one of the most important roles in the body? This gland is responsible for overseeing the proper function of several of the body’s major organs, such as the digestive system, heart, and muscles, as well as making sure that the development of the brain is excellent, among others. The thyroid gland does its job by regulating the metabolic rate of the body. The metabolic rate refers to the pace at which the body uses energy. A thyroid gland that is healthy and normal is usually not obvious when looking at the part of the neck where it is located. However, if this area is unusually enlarged or if the thyroid can be felt by the touch, then this may connote an existing condition or disease. There are certain conditions and diseases affecting the thyroid that may require it to be surgically removed. Read about thyroid surgery at https://www.thomashosurgery.com/thyroid-surgery/

Aside from this very apparent sign that the thyroid might not be in a healthy state, other symptoms like anxiety, depression, sensitivity to high or low temperatures, irregular menstrual cycles for women, fatigue, and pain felt in the muscles and joint can also hint that the thyroid is not in its normal state. There are medications that can be taken by patients who have thyroid problems, but in case the condition is much more severe, then your doctor may recommend the thyroid’s removal through surgery.

Let us look at the three (3) main reasons why you may need to have a thyroid surgery.

  1. Your thyroid is diagnosed with goiter.

A goiter is a medical disease that affects the thyroid gland. It can be detected by the unusual enlargement of your thyroid. This condition is generally not painful, but it could pose some difficulties to a person’s daily life. These can be in the form of the following symptoms: challenges with breathing and swallowing, coughing, tightening of your throat, hoarseness of voice, and an obvious bulge at the base of your neck. Women have a higher risk of getting this disease, as well as other disorders relating to the thyroid, especially when they are pregnant or in the stage of menopause. Causes that can lead to goiter are: lack of iodine, Graves’ disease, Hashimoto’s disease, inflammation, multinodular goiter, pregnancy, solitary thyroid nodules, pregnancy, and thyroid cancer.

2. Your thyroid is diagnosed with hyperthyroidism.

Hyperthyroidism refers to the condition of having an overactive thyroid. This happens when the hormone called thyroxine is being produced by the thyroid gland at massive numbers, which leads to a faster metabolism. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism include: thyroid enlargement, anxiety and irritability, irregular heatbeat (arrhythmia), rapid heartbeat (tachycardia), palpitations, changes in menstrual cycle for women, increased appetite and heat sensitivity, involuntary weight loss, fatigue, thinning of skin, sweating, more frequent bowel movements, having a hard time sleeping, and skin thinning. Hyperthyroidism can present critical health complications when not managed and treated.

3. You are diagnosed with cancer in your thyroids.

Thyroid cancer is a silent disease as it can exist in your thyroid and not give out any symptoms at all during its earlier stages. You will only be aware of its existence by the time it spreads through the gland and starts cause inflammation and pain.

To note, there are five (5) different kinds of thyroid cancer:

  • Anaplastic thyroid cancer
  • Follicular thyroid cancer
  • Medullary thyroid cancer
  • Papillary thyroid cancer (the most common type and accounts for 70% to 80% of all thyroid cancers)

Other rare kinds include thyroid lymphoma and thyroid sarcoma.  Even though the field of medicine continues to advance, the main cause of thyroid cancer has yet to be discovered. What doctors and medical researchers know is how this disease can develop.

Thyroid cancer happens when the cells in the thyroid mutate genetically. When the genes mutate, the cells are reproduced. These mutated cells continue to grow and amass to become abnormal thyroid cells, which then form into a tumour. Thyroid cancer can be identified by these signs: a bulge that can be felt through the neck’s skin covering the thyroid area, hoarseness, neck and throat pains, lymph nodes that appear to be swollen in the neck, and swallowing difficulty.

How do you know if you need thyroid surgery?

If you experience several of the symptoms of the different diseases that could affect the thyroid gland as listed above, then you should consider consulting with an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) doctor. Thyroid diseases are highly curable, as long as they are detected early and receive the proper care. Your ENT doctor can give you an advise whether you will need surgery or not, after assessing your condition. You may be required to undergo tests (e.g. thyroid function test, thyroid ultrasound) or, if a lump is found in your thyroid, this often requires a biopsy to check whether the cells pose a threat, like cancer.