Thyroid, Parathyroid and Adrenal Gland Surgery
Located in the front of the neck, the thyroid is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland that produces hormones that are carried through the blood to every part of the body. Thyroid hormones do everything from helping the body metabolize energy to ensuring proper function of the heart, brain, muscles and more. Thyroid surgery is recommended to treat disorders that include: thyroid cancer, overactive thyroid and goiter, a non-cancerous enlargement of the thyroid.
The parathyroid glands are four very small glands located on the back of the thyroid gland in the neck. These glands help your body control the calcium level in the blood by releasing parathyroid hormone.
The adrenal glands are located on top of each kidney. They produce hormones, including cortisol, that help to regulate your metabolism, immune system, blood pressure and response to stress and other important body functions.
Partial Thyroidectomy | Total Thyroidectomy
There are two main types of thyroid surgery, a partial thyroidectomy, which is the removal of half of the thyroid and a total thyroidectomy, which is the removal of all or most of the thyroid tissue. In a partial thyroidectomy, there is a chance that the thyroid may still produce enough hormone after surgery. With all total and some partial thyroidectomies, patients need to take a daily thyroid hormone replacement every day to replace those previously made in the thyroid. Your doctor will provide specific directions to follow the day prior to surgery regarding food, drink and medications. This procedure is done with patients under general anesthesia.
The evening after surgery, you will have a liquid diet and an IV to keep you hydrated. You will have a dressing on your neck and may have a sore throat. You may also require pain medication. By the next morning, you will be able to eat breakfast, and most patients will be discharged at this time. You will have steri-strips covering the incision until stitches are removed one to two weeks after surgery. You will be able to shower the day after surgery, but need to keep the incision area as dry as possible. Recovery for most patients takes one to two weeks.
Conditions that may require thyroid surgery:
- Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
- Graves’ disease
- Thyroid cancer
- Iodine deficiency
Parathyroid surgery: Surgery to remove the parathyroid glands is called a parathyroidectomy. The parathyroid glands are made up of four small round pieces that are attached to the back of the thyroid gland in the neck. These glands are part of the endocrine system that makes and controls the hormones that affect growth, development, body function and mood. The parathyroid glands control the amount of calcium in the blood releasing parathyroid hormone when calcium levels in the blood are low. After surgery you can expect some pain or discomfort and you may have a sore throat. Recovery and return to normal activities can take one to two weeks.
Conditions that may require parathyroid surgery:
- Benign tumors
- Cancerous tumors
- Parathyroid hyperplasia
Adrenal surgery: Adrenal surgery is done to remove one or both adrenal glands that are small triangular shaped glands located above each kidney. Adrenal glands are part of the endocrine system and produce hormones. This surgery can be done in two ways, either with a laparoscopic / robotic surgery or open surgery. A total adrenalectomy is performed to remove the entire adrenal gland to remove a cancerous tumor. A partial adrenalectomy removes part of the adrenal gland and may be done to remove noncancerous tumors. Most patients are able to leave the hospital the day after the surgery. Recovery from adrenal surgery may take two to four weeks or longer depending on the type of surgery performed. Patients may have their hormone levels monitored before, during or after surgery. After surgery for an adrenal carcinoma, your doctor may discuss additional treatment or medication options.
Conditions that require adrenal surgery:
- Cushing’s syndrome
- Benign tumors
- Cancerous tumors
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