Risks of surgery of the thyroid gland

Written by: Dr. Jose Luis Souto López-Mosquera
Published: | Updated: 12/03/2021
Edited by: Top Doctors®

There are some complications that can occur during or after thyroid surgery:

Local complications:

  • Scars: There will be a scar, usually a fine line that will look like a wrinkle on the neck it will be reduced. However, there is a risk that the scar will not evolve as well as expected, and that is wider or thicker than expected. There may also be a loss of sensitivity in the area of ​​skin near the scar.
  • Thyroid hormone replacement: Depending on the amount of thyroid gland is removed, it is likely that some kind of therapy of thyroid hormone replacement is needed after surgery.
  • Hypoparathyroidism: The parathyroid glands, which are located very close to the thyroid gland control the body 's calcium levels. If the parathyroids are damaged during surgery, a temporary interruption may occur rarely or permanent operation. This causes a reduction in the level of calcium in the blood called hypocalcemia. The temporary hypoparathyroidism affects approximately 7% of patients. The symptoms of hypoparathyroidism, which usually appear in the first few days after surgery and last for one or several weeks, may include numbness and tingling around the lips, hands and soles of the feet; tingling sensation in the skin, muscle cramps and spasms, severe headaches, anxiety and depression. These symptoms are treated with calcium.

Laryngeal nerve injury: the recurrent laryngeal nerves pass near the thyroid. There is a risk to get injured during surgery; It occurs approximately in 1 in 250 thyroid surgeries. The damage is usually temporary, and can cause changes in the voice, such as hoarseness, voice fatigue and reduced vocal range. Normally, the permanent changes are rare and voice returns to normal in a few weeks. To help reduce the risk of nerve damage during surgery, the monitoring system nerve integrity is used. The monitoring system allows monitoring the function of nerves and confirm that not damaged.

If there is a change in the function of a nerve monitoring system produces visual and auditory warnings to alert the surgeon and operating room personnel. The use of monitoring systems nerve integrity helps reduce the risk of damaging nerves during surgery, and improves the security and tranquility of patients and surgeons.

General complications of surgery: there is a risk of bleeding after surgery, as well as some risk from anesthesia and possible infection of the surgical wound. It will likely be necessary to take thyroid hormone replacement for the rest of life. Thyroid surgery controls hyperthyroidism in 90% of people. However, in 10% of cases, sufficient thyroid tissue is not removed and reproduces the condition. In these cases, it is possible that a second surgery is needed.


What is thyroid surgery

Traditional thyroid surgery is a relatively short operation that requires a hospital stay of only one or two nights.

Before surgery

If the patient has hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid), perhaps required to take medication to control your hormone levels in the weeks before surgery. Surgery is safer if the thyroid hormone levels are normal at the time of the operation. Sometimes the patient is also given some drugs such as lugol decrease the vascularity of the gland to facilitate intervention and reduce the risk of bleeding.

Blood tests, chest x-ray and an electrocardiogram (ECG) will be practiced to ensure that the general conditions for surgery are suitable. In some hospitals, occasionally they perform a test of the vocal cords before the operation to verify proper operation.

The patient remains fasted after dinner the day before the operation.

In cases where the suspicion or certainty that the lesion is malignant thyroid there the surgeon will remove nearby lymph nodes to thyroid. In this case, the magnitude of the operation will not be known beforehand.

During surgery

A total thyroidectomy without complications usually lasts about 2 hours and is performed under local anesthesia.

After surgery

The patient is transferred to the recovery area where nurses will monitor you until you wake up completely. You may let the surgeon drains the wound area used to evacuate excess fluid and blood, and also serve to warn of unwanted bleeding. These tubes are extracted the same day or the next day, depending on the extent of the operation and speed of recovery.

The neck and throat will be sore and stiff for a few days. Pain medication will be administered while the patient is in the hospital. The pain will ease and disappear in a few days.

Voice changes may occur, which may occur if the nerves that go to the larynx are damaged in some way during operation. These changes should only last a few days. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection
Dr. Jose Luis Souto López-Mosquera

By Dr. Jose Luis Souto López-Mosquera

Dr. Souto is General and Digestive Surgery. He specializes in breast surgery, thyroid and parathyroid surgery of the abdominal wall (hernia, hernias) and Proctologic surgery. The doctor has participated in numerous conferences and national and international communications.

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

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