Learn about Thyroid Gland removal or Thyroidectomy. Shawn Ciecko MD -Otolaryngologist, Medical School at University of Buffalo, Resident in Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery at the Duke University Medical Center, ENTandAllergy Associate.
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Interviewer: Can you discuss the thyroid? Sometimes you have to remove it, tell me about the surgery, its risk and the concerns you have when you do it? Dr. Shawn Ciecko: Total thyroidectomy or a surgery for thyroid cancer is a very intricate process. The thyroid gland sits low in the neck here just under the Adam’s apple and it’s shaped like a butterfly. An incision is made in the neck and the gland must be removed in its entirety for thyroid cancer specifically. There are two main parts of the procedure that we need to be concerned about and that is one, the parathyroid glands which are the small calcium producing glands behind the thyroid gland. This must be found moved out of the way and preserved throughout the procedure. The second main risk is injury to the recurrent laryngeal nerve which is a nerve that controls the vocal chords, the voice box. Injury to this nerve could cause hoarseness, difficulty swallowing and it can have significant repercussions. So this is a very technical surgery that you must keep both of these normal structures in mind when performing this operation to extricate a bad process like cancer.

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