Thyroid nodule are present in up to 50% of patients. Certain features that are seen during ultrasound examination, or somewhat rapid enlargement of the nodules, result in a need for tissue biopsy.
Today, improvement in ultrasound equipment have allowed better following of thyroid nodules.
Although needle aspiration biopsy has been used many years ago for tissue diagnosis, recent medical studies have shown incorrect diagnoses occur too often with this technique. Most pathologist nationwide, when presented with needle aspiration tissue, are reluctant to give a definitive diagnosis. They request half of the thyroid gland to ensure accurate diagnosis. Hence, as an ENT surgeon, I have been doing more partial thyroidectomy’s to obtain the correct diagnosis.
The procedure is done as an outpatient, usually last about 90 minutes, and you go home about three hours after it’s done. Special attention is directed to the recurrent laryngeal nerve, which is monitored with a special device during the surgery, along with the parathyroid glands which control your calcium metabolism. Surgical techniques that address these structures are paramount and routine during our thyroid surgeries thus preventing significant surgical complications.
Because fluid collection under the skin can commonly occur, this is avoided by placing a drain along with a thick gauze bandage to drain fluid over the first few days after surgery. In addition to a cosmetic skin closure, the drain is placed at the end of the procedure. The drain is removed at approximately three days, and you can resume most activities after seven days.
Maintaining an upright position during the first few days of recovery will improve your experience. Additional details about the surgery and recovery will be explained at the time the procedure is scheduled.
After your thyroid surgery you will have a drain (tiny piece of plastic tubing), which prevents fluid and blood from building up in the wound. The wrap dressing around your neck and drain will be removed after the fluid accumulation has stabilized, usually 2-3 days after surgery. The Out Patient Center will give you an appointment date and time upon leaving the facility for the drain removal. If you are not given an appointment, Dr. Seicshnaydre’s nurse will be calling you the morning after your surgery and she will schedule your appointment for you.
Most patients are discharged from the surgical facility 3-4 hours after having surgery. If you are having a Total Thyroidectomy, due to monitoring your blood calcium levels through- out the day, expect to leave the surgical facility around 4:30 or 5:00 P.M. The facility will give you an order to have blood drawn early the next morning at Memorial Hospital or a MHG facility near you. Please remember to have your synthroid medicine, which should have already been prescribed to you by your Primary Care Physician, to start the day after your surgery.
Sleep upright the 1st 3-4 nights depending on drain removal. You may return to sleeping in your bed the day after your drain is removed.
Usually pain is minimal and plain Tylenol is often enough for pain control. However, you will be given an antibiotic and pain medicine which contains Tylenol. If you use the pain medicine do not use any additional Tylenol for 6 hours after the dose of pain medicine. REMEMBER, NEVER TAKE YOUR ANTIBIOTIC OR PAIN MEDICINE ON AN EMPTY STOMACH, this can cause nausea and vomiting. Please eat prior to any medications.
You may eat a normal/soft diet. Good nutrition is very important in the healing process. You will have swelling above the incision site for 2-4 weeks following the surgery.
DO NOT: BEND OVER, LIFT GREATER THAN 15 LBS, STRAINING AND NO DRIVING FOR 1 WEEK
Complications are rare but may include:
Bleeding Sore throat-usually from intubation
Shortness of Breath Hoarseness
Vocal Cord Paralysis Low Blood Calcium
Numbness on skin or neck
If you have any problems, please call Dr. Seicshnaydre’s Office at 228-864-0828 during office hours. If problems arise during the night, someone is always on call. Please call the Office telephone number.
Dr. Seicshnaydre’s Nurse will be calling and checking on you the next morning, if you have not heard from her by 10:00 A.M., please call the office.