Thyroidectomy Or Lobectomy
Thyroid removal surgery is a medical procedure which entails the taking away of whole or a portion of the thyroid gland which is the butterfly-shaped gland that is located inside the front part of the lower neck. The procedure is also called thyroidectomy or lobectomy. Thyroid glands are part of the endocrine system and their primary roles are to regulate the body metabolism.
This medical procedure is usually performed in response to a number of reasons which include but are not limited to the following: the growth and proliferation of small thyroid nodules or cysts; the development of thyrotoxicosis which is basically an overactive and dangerous thyroid gland; the development of thyroid cancer; the development of benign tumors in the thyroid; and the development of non-toxic goiter or thyroid swelling which makes swallowing quite difficult. The entire procedure is normally carried out when the patient concerned does not wish to have a radioactive iodine treatment or cannot be treated using antithyroid medicines.
Depending on the nature of the problem at hand, the type of thyroidectomy or lobectomy performed will usually fall into either of the following four categories: “Partial or Sub-total Thyroid Lobectomy” which entails the removal of only portion of the gland that is responsible for the trouble; “Thyroid Lobectomy” which entails the removal of solitary dominant nodules which arises due to thyroid cancer; “Thyroid Lobectomy with Isthmusectomy” which entails the removal of the thyroid lobe together with the isthmus which connects the two constituent lobes; and “Total Thyroidectomy” which entails the complete removal of the whole thyroid gland. The procedure normally involves the administering of anesthesia to the patient first before the actual surgery. The entire procedure takes an average of four hours, but can be shorter depending upon the amount of work to be done. It takes longer when the whole gland is to be removed and shorter when only a portion of it is to be removed. After this surgical procedure, and especially so when the entire gland is removed; the patients are required to be taking thyroid hormone replacement pills for the remaining portion of their lifetime to keep their metabolism as normal as possible.
Like every other human procedure, this surgery is not without its dangers or shortcomings. It predisposes patients to the risks of excessive bleeding especially if the veins are accidentally cut; infections arising from the contacts with the surgical blades and equipment; injuries to the nervous system, vocal cords and larynx; difficulty in breathing more so when the lungs are affected; the obstruction of the airways; abnormal levels of thyroid hormones (thyroid storm); and injuries to the parathyroid glands, just to mention but a few!
Thyroid removal surgery, notwithstanding the aforementioned shortcomings, is still a very effective means of combating certain deadly diseases like thyroid cancer. However, given the fact that it has its own shortcomings, and also considering that certain persons react differently to surgical operations, it is strongly recommended that patients conduct thorough due diligence before agreeing to undertake this procedure. This is the only sure way to stay safe and avoid the related complications.