One of the complications that can occur during thyroid surgery is bleeding bleeding either own thyroid tissue or thyroid arteries should be severed. On the other hand, in cases of aggressive tumor disease requiring greater complexity by having to intervene in other areas of the neck injury great vessels, trachea, esophagus or thoracic duct, or even opening the pleura or may appear the injury of some cervical nerve; all of which can occur very infrequently and can usually be solved during the same surgical procedure.
However, complications often arise during the postoperative. The most common are: wound infection or bleeding, impaired phonation, loss of function of a vocal cord, decreased blood levels of calcium or decreased activity of the parathyroid glands, which are close to the thyroid.
To address these complications may have to be a local priest or antibiotics for infection, or emergency reoperation, if bleeding that compromises the airway. As for the paralysis of the vocal cord, mostly it resolves spontaneously within a few weeks, although it may require the support of a speech therapist. Regarding the decline in blood calcium levels, this can be supplemented with calcium pills and vitamin D, during the time that is required to normalize the activity of the parathyroid glands, usually a few weeks.
Permanent complications of thyroid surgery
Sometimes the nerve activity that moves the vocal cord is not recovered and the patient is left with a paralyzed cord. This may have different clinical consequences in speech, major or minor, that can be alleviated with a small intervention in the area and foniátrica education.
Very exceptionally may be permanent involvement of both vocal cords being necessary to breathe, the urgent realization of a tracheostomy.
Mortality rates of thyroid surgery
In thyroid surgery mortality is very low. In our experience 0% after more than 2,000 interventions. In any case, it is generally dependent on other patient associated diseases, especially cardiopulmonary.
Recent advances in thyroid surgery
The main variable success in this surgery is the experience of the surgeon. They have recently emerged tools help both modern form of anesthesia equipment as new technologies against bleeding, such as ultrasonic or electrothermal bipolar dissection, or aid to the location of the recurrent nerves. Moreover, endoscopic techniques are still far from equaling the traditional technique.