Thyroid and Parathyroid Surgery
What Is a Thyroid and a Parathyroid?
The thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped endocrine gland in the lower front of your neck that regulates all the metabolic processes in your body. Your thyroid releases hormones that impact the way your body grows, develops, uses energy, produces heat, and consumes oxygen.
Parathyroid glands are four small endocrine glands located behind the thyroid that release hormones that control the calcium levels in your blood. Calcium is the most important element in our body and is used to control many systems, in fact, it is the only element with its own regulatory system, the parathyroid glands.
Why is Thyroid or Parathyroid Surgery Performed?
Thyroid surgery (thyroidectomy) is a procedure where all or a part of the thyroid gland is removed. Parathyroid surgery (parathyroidectomy) is a procedure where one or more of your parathyroid glands are removed. Some causes for thyroid or parathyroid surgery include:
- Small growths, such as nodules or cysts
- Overactive thyroid
- Thyroid or parathyroid cancer
- Noncancerous tumors that are causing problems
- Large goiters that impact your ability to breathe or swallow properly
- Hyperparathyroidism – Parathyroid gland is producing too much parathyroid hormone
What are the Types of Thyroid or Parathyroid Surgeries Performed?
- Total or full thyroidectomy – removal of the entire thyroid gland, including both lobes and the isthmus
- Partial (subtotal or near-total) thyroidectomy – removes part of the thyroid gland
- Isthmusectomy (isthmectomy) – removal of the isthmus
- Thyroid lobectomy (hemithyroidectomy) – removal of one lobe of the thyroid gland
- Parathyroidectomy – removal of one or more of the parathyroid glands
What to Expect During Thyroid or Parathyroid Surgery
General anesthesia will be used, so you will be asleep. A standard incision may be made in the neck or laparoscopic surgery (minimally invasive video-assisted thyroidectomy) may be performed. Under certain circumstances, robotic-assisted laparoscopic surgery can be performed through a distant incision in either the axilla or the back of the neck. A surgical drain may be placed in the incision and removed after surgery. A breathing tube will be used throughout the surgery, so your throat may be sore. Some patients may have this procedure done as an outpatient, others may spend a day or two in the hospital.
What to Expect After Thyroid or Parathyroid Surgery
Most people return to normal activities within a day or two. Extreme physical activities and heavy lifting should be limited for a few weeks to reduce the risk of blood clots or breaking of stitches. Your throat may be sore for a few days and it may be easier to eat soft foods. Some patients will need to take thyroid hormones after surgery, depending on whether the entire thyroid is removed or other situations. After parathyroid surgery some patients will experience symptoms of low calcium such as tingling in the fingers and around the lips, they will need to take calcium supplements.
What are the Risks of Thyroid Surgery?
All major surgeries carry risk, including an adverse reaction to general anesthesia, heavy bleeding, and infection. Risks specific to thyroid surgery include possible damage to the nerves connected to the vocal chords (laryngeal nerves), or damage to the parathyroid glands. The main complications with parathyroid surgery are hoarseness, low calcium levels, and bleeding in the neck.
In general, thyroid and parathyroid surgery in Bakersfield CA, best performed by a surgeon who has received special training and who performs thyroid surgery on a regular basis. The complication rate of thyroid and parathyroid operations is lower when the operation is done by a surgeon who performs several thyroid or parathyroid operations each year. If you need thyroid or parathyroid surgery, look no farther than the expert endocrine surgeons at Central Valley Surgical Specialists!
It is our goal at Central Valley Surgical Specialists to bring the highest quality surgical care closer to home through innovation and collaboration.
8307 Brimhall Road Suite 1706
Bakersfield, CA 93312
Monday - Friday: 8am – 5pm