By Dr. Rahul Jawahar, General Surgery
All the surgical operations performed on any of the endocrine glands come under the roof of endocrine surgery. Endocrine glands function as hormone secretor and have a major impact on the normal functioning of all the cells of body. Endocrine surgeons expertise in treating and operating either thyroid glands or parathyroid glands or adrenal glands or endocrine pancreas or neuro-endocrine glands.
Duties of Endocrine surgeons range from initial diagnosis to examination of endocrine disorders. They further collaborate with pathologists, geneticists, radiologists, anesthetists and contribute to higher researches related to endocrine glands.
A brief about thyroid surgery
It is one of the most common endocrine surgeries. Symptoms that suggest a person shall undertake a thyroid surgery
- A lump which can be a malignant tumor in disguise. A fine needle biopsy of the lump is performed to detect the chances of tumor.
- A goitre which may be indicated by hindrance in breathing, persistent coughand difficulty in wallowing. This may cause load on adjacent organs.
- A retrosternal goiter.
- Bilateral subtotal thyroidectomy: For eleminating major part of thyroid except both part of lobes.
- Hemithyroidectomy: For eleminating half of thyroid
- Total thyroidectomy: For exclusion of entire thyroid
- Removal of thyroid nodule: Cutting out a lump from the thyroid
The procedure for thyroid surgery
The patient undertaking thyroid surgery is given either general anesthesia or local anesthesia. The surgery starts with making an incision, in front of the neck. This cut is made at about 2 – 3cm above collarbone. Then the muscles are divided so that the thyroid can be cut out. This entire operation is to be carried out with utmost care and attention so that parathyroid glands and voice box are unharmed.
Complexities involved in thyroid surgery
- While undergoing a thyroid surgery, chances of experiencing chest infection, infection due to anesthetics, heart problems, blood clotting, cut infections still persist.
- If bleeding continues to post the surgery, it may result in swollen throat. Normal breathing may also be hampered. If during the operation, the voice box is damaged, it may result in hoarseness of the voice.
- Damage to the parathyroid glands may cause decrement in level of calcium in blood.
- If the scar tissue grows abnormally, it may result in surgical scar.
Remedies for the above complications
- Effects due to the damage to the voice box can be diminished by utilizing speech therapy. An additional surgery of the vocal cords can also be an option.
- One can overcome the drop in the level of calcium by taking calcium and vitamin D tablets.
- Surgical scars can be treated with the aid of steroid injections or silicone gel tape.