The Thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located around the trachea (windpipe) at the front of the neck just below the Adam’s apple. The thyroid consists of a left and a right lobe which are connected by a bridge, otherwise known as an isthmus. As part of the endocrine system, the thyroid gland is responsible for secreting hormones that help with metabolism and protein synthesis both in men and women. Diseases that affect the thyroid are often functional in nature, meaning they disrupt the way this gland works and regulates hormones. Depending on the severity of the disease, thyroid removal surgery (thyroidectomy) may be the best option. Such a surgery can leave a noticeable scar measuring several inches in length on the front of the neck. Luckily, safe and effective scar management
solutions are available, and products are easily attainable online
Continue reading to learn more about thyroid removal surgery and what you can do to prevent and manage severe post-operative scarring.
Why do people have their thyroids removed?
The thyroid gland secretes special hormones (called T3 and T4) directly into the bloodstream, which are then carried to nearly every cell in the body. Hormones are considered a class of molecules responsible for stimulating or signaling cells into action. Hormones produced by the thyroid are unique in that they absorb and utilize iodine from the foods we eat to carry out their many functions. Thyroid hormones support and sustain various metabolic activities including breathing, heart rate, growth and development, the conversion of food and vitamins into energy, and much more. It is thought that the pituitary gland, a peanut-sized gland in the brain, signals the thyroid whenever it isn’t producing enough hormones.
Thyroid removal surgery is typically a last resort response to any number of functional abnormalities relating to this gland. A condition known as hypothyroidism is characterized by the underproduction of thyroid hormones. When the thyroid doesn’t synthesize enough hormones, a person may experience fatigue, weight gain, and loss of muscle mass, among other symptoms. On the opposite end of the spectrum, a condition known as hyperthyroidism is associated with the overproduction of thyroid hormones. Those who suffer from a hyperactive thyroid may experience sleeplessness, anxiety, weight loss, increased heart rate, and more. A condition known as goiter can cause the thyroid to increase dramatically in size, making it difficult to breathe and swallow. And lastly, thyroid cancer is yet another ailment that can affect the thyroid. Depending on whether the cancer is benign or malignant, your doctor may recommend having it removed.
A thyroidectomy is a surgical procedure that involves the removal of part or all of the thyroid gland. A lobectomy, in contrast, is the removal of either the left or right lobe of the thyroid. In the case of cancer that has spread from the thyroid to the surrounding area, the excision of lymph nodes is included. Depending on the extent of the disease, an incision of up to several inches in length may be required.
During the surgery, the patient is likely to undergo anesthesia, so he or she will be asleep during the entire procedure. Your surgeon may make one or multiple incisions on the front of the neck, but this varies depending on the type of procedure done. If possible, it’s best to find a surgeon who performs multiple thyroidectomies a year. This is to ensure fewer post-operative complications and reduced scarring. Pain medication may be prescribed to allay neck pain and a sore throat. If the entire thyroid gland was removed, the patient may need to be on hormone medication for an indefinite period of time after the surgery. If the patient is well enough, he or she may be permitted to leave the hospital the day of the procedure.
Because thyroid removal surgeries leave scars on a highly noticeable area of the neck, patients may be concerned with their post-operative appearance. Some patients experience irregular scarring due to skin type and genetics, regardless of the surgeon’s expertise. Abnormal scars are often considered keloids and hypertrophic scars
which are marked by their raised, discolored appearance can feel itchy or painful to the touch. These are the scar types patients wish to avoid. Luckily, they can be safely and effectively managed with the use of silicone gel sheeting
and silicone sticks
for scar therapy. Medical silicone
for scar management is a clinically-proven
topical therapy solution that emerged to the market over 30 years ago. Topical silicone works through the mechanisms of dermal hydration
and collagen regulation
to help flatten and smoothen abnormal scars types, allowing them to blend in with the surrounding tissue.