According to the American Thyroid Association, about 20 million Americans have thyroid disease, and more than 12% of Americans will develop thyroid disease during their lifetimes. Many times, thyroid disease can be treated with medication. But sometimes, surgery is the better solution.
At Desert West Surgery, our team of skilled surgeons uses the most advanced thyroid surgery techniques for patients with thyroid disease that can’t be treated non-invasively. Here’s what you should know about thyroid disease and the surgeries used to manage it.
Your thyroid in a nutshell
Your thyroid gland produces hormones that have a direct effect on your:
- Heart rate
- Body temperature
- Blood pressure
People with thyroid problems can experience symptoms like:
- Feeling unusually cold or hot
- Dry, itchy skin
- Unexplained weight gain or weight loss
- Anxiety and nervousness
- Sleep problems
- Digestive problems or changes in bowel habits
The symptoms you have will depend on whether your thyroid gland produces too many hormones (hyperthyroidism or overactive thyroid disease) or too few (hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid disease). Often, these common thyroid problems can be treated with medicine.
Many thyroid problems can be diagnosed or detected using a blood test. Your doctor will also review your symptoms, which might include:
- A lump near the base of your neck
- Problems swallowing
- Voice changes, including hoarseness
- Throat or neck pain
- Swollen lymph nodes
Some problems, like nodules, may not cause any noticeable symptoms until they grow large enough to be felt. In that case, you’ll have to pay close attention to the other symptoms listed above.
Surgery and thyroid disease
While some types of thyroid problems can be controlled with medicines, other problems require surgery. The most common reasons for thyroid surgery include:
- Thyroid cancer
- Cysts and nodules on the thyroid
- Enlarged thyroid (also called a goiter)
There are three main types of thyroid surgery. The type of thyroid surgery you need primarily depends on what’s being treated.
A total thyroidectomy removes the entire thyroid gland, and it’s usually used in patients with thyroid cancer.
Your thyroid gland has two lobes, separated in the middle by a narrower part called the isthmus. A lobectomy removes one lobe, and sometimes the center isthmus, as well.
This procedure is typically performed in people with hyperthyroidism when the condition can’t be managed nonsurgically. In a subtotal thyroidectomy, the surgeon removes one lobe, the isthmus, and most of the second lobe. The remaining lobe portion is left to produce the hormones your body needs.
The symptoms of thyroid disease can be very subtle, but it’s important not to ignore them. If you’re having thyroid symptoms or if you’d like to learn more about thyroid surgery, call one of our three offices in Las Vegas, Nevada, book an appointment online today.