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What is Hyperthyroidism?
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Main > Specialty Areas > Endocrinology >
Hyperthyroidism

Thyroid Surgery

Another permanent cure for hyperthyroidism is to surgically remove all or part. Surgery is not used as frequently as the other treatments for this disease. The biggest reason for this is that the most common forms of hyperthyroidism are a result of overproduction from the entire gland and the methods described above work quite well in the vast majority of cases. Although there are some Graves' Disease patients who will need to have surgical removal of their thyroid (cannot tolerate medicines for one reason or another, or who refuse radioactive iodine), other causes of hyperthyroidism can be better suited for surgical treatment earlier in the disease.

Concerns about long hospitalizations following thyroid surgery have been all but alleviated over the past few years since many surgeons are now sending their patients home the morning following surgery (23 hour stay). This of course depends on the underlying health of the patient and their age, among other factors. Some are even treating partial thyroidectomy as an out patient procedure where healthy patients can be sent home a few hours post op. Although most surgeons require that the patient be put to sleep for operations on the thyroid gland, a some are even removing one side of the gland under local anesthesia with the aid of IV sedation. These smaller operations tend to be associated with fewer complaints.

Potential down side of the surgical approach

There is a small risk of injury to structures near the thyroid gland in the neck including the nerve to the voice box (the recurrent laryngeal nerve). The incidence of this is about 1%. Like radioactive iodine treatment, surgery often results in hypothyroidism. This fact is obvious when the entire gland is removed, but it may occur following a lobectomy as well. Whenever hypothyroidism occurs after treatment of an overactive thyroid gland, it can be easily diagnosed and effectively treated with levothyroxine.

Drug Info:
Levothyroxine is a pure synthetic form of T4 hormone that is made in a laboratory to be an exact replacement for the T4 that the human thyroid gland normally secretes. It comes in multiple strengths, which means that an appropriate dosage can almost always be found for each patient.

Levothyroxine fully replaces thyroid hormones deficiency and, when used in the correct dose, can be safely taken for the remainder of a patient's life without side effects or complications. Just one small pill per day.

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