Minimally Invasive General Surgery
7777 Forest Lane Suite A.331 Dallas, TX 75230 972.566.7860
A thyroid nodule may be found by the patient by sensing a lump or mass in the neck or by the primary physician on physical exam. Some thyroid nodules can be a problem for the patient due to the fact that they may cause too much hormone release. Other thyroid nodules may harbor malignancy and should be removed with surgery. Nodules with certain characteristics do not require surgery and can be simply followed by your primary physician.
If your thyroid nodule is malignant by needle biopsy, surgery usually requires removal of the entire gland. If the nodule only has concerning characteristics, surgery involves removing the side of the thyroid gland that contains the nodule. During surgery, the removed nodule will be checked for cancer by the pathologist. If the nodule is found to harbor cancer, the entire thyroid gland can be removed during that same operation. It may be important to remove some of the lymph nodes in the neck if there is evidence of lymph node invasion or if your tumor is very large.
There are several types of thyroid cancer including papillary, follicular, medullary, and anaplastic. Radioactive iodine treatment is sometimes indicated following thyroidectomy depending on the size and degree of invasion of the cancer.
Dr. Bell has a special interest in thyroid surgery. Your likelihood of complications will be minimal due to his
extensive experience. Hypocalcemia or low calcium is one complication that can occur after thyroid surgery due to manipulation of the calcium-balancing parathyroid glands which are located behind the thyroid gland. Dr. Bell will monitor your calcium status closely and address any issues that may arise. Another extremely rare complication is injury to the recurrent laryngeal nerve, an important voice box nerve. Dr. Bell carefully identifies your nerves prior to removal of the thyroid to prevent injury. When conditions allow, he will also use a nerve monitor to check nerve function during your surgery.