It’s hard to believe that something as small as your thyroid can play such an important role in your body. But, even though it’s only the size of your thumb, your thyroid produces hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). T3 and T4 reach almost every cell in your system and control several of your bodily functions, including:
- Body temperature
- Breathing and heart rate
- Central and peripheral nervous system
- Bodyweight and muscle strength
Because your thyroid plays such a crucial role in how your body works, you experience a wide range of unpleasant symptoms when it malfunctions. These types of issues can occur for several reasons, ranging from thyroid diseases to benign or cancerous growths.
At Desert West Surgery, our experienced surgeons specialize in treating a wide range of health conditions at our three convenient locations in Las Vegas. If you have thyroid problems, these issues could indicate the need for surgery.
You have hyperthyroidism
Hyperthyroidism develops when your thyroid makes too much T3 and T4. This condition can develop for several reasons, but the most common cause is an autoimmune disorder known as Graves’ disease.
When you have hyperthyroidism, you can experience several symptoms, including:
- An elevated, irregular heart rate
- High blood pressure
- Heat intolerance
- Hand tremors
- Weight loss
- Frequent bowel movements
- Irregular menstrual cycles
Hyperthyroidism can also increase your risk of strokes and congestive heart failure.
You have a large growth or goiter
Growths and goiters are very different thyroid issues. If you have an abnormal growth on your thyroid, it can be a solid or fluid-filled nodule or a cyst. A goiter, on the other hand, develops when your thyroid itself becomes enlarged.
While nodules, cysts, and goiters typically aren’t cause for concern, they can become so large that they cause uncomfortable symptoms, including:
- A visible or unsightly mass in your neck
- Coughing or hoarseness
- Difficulty swallowing
- Pain in your neck or throat
In some cases, large growths and goiters can also make it hard to breathe.
You have thyroid cancer
Over 95% of thyroid growths are noncancerous. But, in the rare chance that you get a thyroid cancer diagnosis, it usually responds very well to treatment, especially surgery. This condition typically doesn’t cause any symptoms in the early stages, but as it progresses, you might notice:
- A lump on your neck
- Changes to your voice
- Problems swallowing
- Throat or neck pain
- Swollen lymph nodes in your neck
We might also recommend surgery to make a thyroid cancer diagnosis.
Surgical treatment for the thyroid
Our experienced team uses three different procedures to treat thyroid issues.
Your thyroid has two sides, like a butterfly, connected by the isthmus. A thyroid lobectomy involves removing one of these lobes. In some cases, especially if there’s a chance of cancer, we also remove the isthmus.
This procedure, also known as a near-total thyroidectomy, focuses on removing one side of your thyroid, the isthmus, and a portion of the other lobe. We use this procedure to treat hyperthyroidism because it leaves enough gland behind to continue producing hormones.
During this procedure, we remove your thyroid gland along with the surrounding lymph nodes. We typically recommend this approach if you have thyroid cancer.
To see if your thyroid condition could benefit from surgery, call us at Desert West Surgery or schedule an appointment online today.