What is the thyroid gland and what is its function?
The thyroid is an endocrine gland that is located mainly in the anterior area of the neck, in front of the trachea, and whose main function is the formation of thyroid hormone. The function of this hormone is rooted in multiple chemical reactions of the organism, that is , it is a stimulant of the metabolism of the human being. On the other hand, it also manufactures another lesser-known hormone called thyrocalcitonin, very important in the metabolism of phosphorus and calcium.
What surgical techniques are used for thyroid surgery?
There are basically 2 or 3 surgical techniques in thyroid surgery. The most frequent surgery is the removal of the right or left side of the thyroid , called ectoirectomy.. The other surgery that is carried out is the total extirpation of the thyroid , called total thyroidectomy. Sometimes, in benign pathology, it is not necessary to remove all the thyroid and small fragments can be left, whose intervention is called subtotal or almost total thyroidectomy.
On the other hand surgery for thyroid cancer is necessary in some cases , such as removing lymph nodes that are in the neck around the thyroid area and what is called cervical lymphadenectomy is performed.
What are the most common complications in this surgery?
The most frequent complications in thyroid surgery are basically four. The first is the infection of the skin due to the wound that is made , although it is relatively rare since the thyroid surgery is clean.
Another complication is hemorrhage , this can have important consequences since the cervical cavity admits very little volume of blood and this can compress structures such as the trachea and cause the sensation of shortness of breath, in that case an urgent intervention is necessary for drain that blood volume.
A third complication would be the injury of the recurrent nerves , those that mobilize the vocal cords and that are very close to the thyroid gland, it is therefore important that they are preserved and not injured.
A final complication would be the injury of the parathyroid glands that are also very close to the thyroid gland and may suffer a lack of function with an alteration of calcium metabolism.
How much time is necessary to be able to live a normal life after surgery?
Thyroid surgery, in principle, does not require a great post-operative convalescence time since it does not affect the digestive function nor the respiratory or cardiac function. That is why the patient in the postoperative period will begin to tolerate liquid foods and in a period of between 24, 48 or 72 hours maximum the patient returns home practically normal life and without complications or problems of painful type, for example.
Is hormone ingestion necessary after thyroid surgery?
The main function of the thyroid is the manufacture and secretion of the thyroid hormones necessary for multiple chemical reactions of the human body, therefore when the thyroid is removed in its entirety it will be necessary to replace these hormones by taking them daily orally. In the case that half of the thyroid is removed, in some patients, the remaining part can replace the deficit of hormonal secretion and the intake of thyroid hormone is not necessary.