5 Things You Need to Know About Thyroid Removal

Updated at: Nov 26, 2012
5 Things You Need to Know About Thyroid Removal

When your thyroid gland functions abnormally, there may be a need to remove it; know the five most important things about thyroid gland removal.

Arka Roy Chowdhury
CancerWritten by: Arka Roy ChowdhuryPublished at: Nov 26, 2012

The thyroid gland located in your neck produces the t3 and t4 hormones which help in the metabolism. There are chances that your thyroid gland may not function abnormally and at  such times it would be necessary for your doctor to remove the gland altogether. If and when this is done, you will need to take hormone medications in order to replace the loss of the gland.


[Read: How do Thyroid Problems Affect the Body]


Here are 5 things that you must know about thyroid gland removal:


Post Removal Complications

Post-surgery, you will remain in the hospital for a few days due to complications such as lowered calcium levels, nausea, and infection. Also, it is important for you to know that there are there are small glands behind the thyroid called the parathyroid glands, which control the amount of calcium and vitamins in your blood, and if these glands are disturbed or touched, they can stop functioning. If calcium levels drop too low, it could affect your heart and other vital organs; therefore, you will need to take calcium supplements.


Hormonal Changes

Hormonal change is bound to happen because removal of the thyroid gland means you will no longer have the gland that helps produce t3 and t4 hormones in the body. These hormones are important for you because thyroid helps to control your heart rate, metabolism, male/female hormones and vitamin levels. You will therefore need to replace the gland with medicines that will help in the proper functioning of the body. The doctor will experiment with the medication by giving you different amounts of it after surgery in order to be able to understand the right amount that you require for proper functioning.


Incision Care

The incision made for surgery will be sensitive immediately following the surgery. To care for the incision, the surgical site will be drained by a tube extending from the neck, which will be emptied every few hours. In case you experience pain, you must inform your doctor or nurses, and they will give you pain medication. You must not use heat or ice on the incision.


[Read: Complications of Thyroid Cancer Surgery]


Chances of Hypothyroidism

There are chances that when the thyroid gland is completely removed, the body can no longer produce thyroid hormone, which is  why medication is required to replace the gland. If medicines are not taken then a decreased level of thyroid hormone, which is called hypothyroidism, causes symptoms such as fatigue, weight gain, and depression. Therefore, your dependency on medications will be lifelong.


[Read: Know More about Hypothyroidism]


Nerve Injury

The laryngeal nerves which are located in the throat, just like the thyroid gland sometimes get injured during thyroid gland removal. It was found out that the laryngeal nerve injury from thyroid surgery can paralyze the vocal cords and larynx which will result in problems with speaking, singing, coughing and swallowing.


Read more articles on Understand Thyroid Cancer




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