At the base of your neck is a butterfly-shaped organ called a thyroid gland. The purpose of the thyroid gland is to regulate the hormones that control your metabolism. The hormones from the thyroid regulate vital bodily functions.
The size of the thyroid gland is about 2 inches and is in front of your throat below your Adam's apple. There are two sides to a thyroid gland called lobes, and they are on either side of your windpipe. The gland is connected by the isthmus, which is a strip of thyroid tissue.
The causes of thyroid nodules are varied. The nodules can be caused by benign cell overgrowth. Or the nodules can be discrete tumors of composed thyroid cells that can be cancerous or benign.
Sometimes the thyroid nodules may contain fluid. The fluid is from fragile blood vessels which bleed and collect in the nodules. This condition is called cystic degeneration. Cystic degeneration can cause pain and swelling suddenly in front of the neck, but it will subside over a few days.
The majority of the time, the nodules aren't cancerous, but the danger of malignancy should always be considered. If the thyroid nodules are small, no bigger than 1 cm in diameter, and no cancer factors, you might be monitored for changes.
Sometimes, removal of the nodules by surgery is necessary. Plus, if the thyroid nodules are cancerous, they will be removed as well as the thyroid gland. This is so to prevent the spread of cancer elsewhere in your body.
Plus, if you’re diagnosed with a cytologically uncertain finding, then you may be advised to have half of your thyroid with the nodule removed. It’s because there is a chance of one in seven people will develop thyroid cancer.
Thyroid surgery can remove one-half of your thyroid or all of your thyroid gland. One-half of your thyroid removed is called a thyroid lobectomy or hemithyroidectomy. The total removal of your thyroid is called a total thyroidectomy.
When surgery is performed to remove your enlarged thyroid gland, there will be an improvement in several ways. Relieve of compressed structures and improvement of symptoms such as coughing, swallowing, or shortness of breath. The removal of your thyroid can also cure some form of thyroid gland overactivity associated with nodules or goiters.
Surgery for thyroid glands usually requires anesthesia and a stay in the hospital. There is pain from your incision for one or two days after your surgery. Plus, there will be a scar that will fade with time. As with any surgery you may have, infection and bleeding can lead to complications with the surgery.
Too, behind your thyroid glands are located four parathyroid glands. There are two on each side. These glands control your calcium levels. But under the hands of an experienced surgeon, these glands are not removed accidentally or injured.
After removing the thyroid gland, depending on how much was removed, you may need to be on levothyroxine, an oral synthetic thyroid medicine.