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Endocrine and Thyroid Surgery

What is the Endocrine System?

The endocrine system consists of a network of glands and organs throughout the body that produce and release hormones. These hormones regulate various physiological processes and maintain balance in the body. The endocrine system includes:

  • Adrenal glands
  • Hypothalamus
  • Ovaries
  • Pancreas
  • Parathyroid glands
  • Pineal gland
  • Pituitary gland
  • Testes
  • Thyroid

What is the Thyroid?

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland in the front of your neck. The thyroid gland and other hormone producing glands have many functions including: maintaining overall health, regulating metabolism, supporting growth and development, and ensuring the proper function of many organs and systems in the body. When endocrine glands malfunction, it can lead to a wide range of health issues.

Understanding Endocrine and Thyroid Surgery

Thyroid and endocrine surgery encompass procedures aimed at treating conditions affecting the thyroid gland and other endocrine organs such as the parathyroid glands and adrenal glands. These surgeries are crucial in managing a variety of disorders.

Importance of Thyroid and Endocrine Surgery

Endocrine surgery refers to surgical procedures involving glands that produce hormones, including the thyroid, parathyroid and adrenal glands. Thyroid and endocrine surgeries are most often used for:

Treating Thyroid Cancer

According to the National Cancer Institute, there are expected to be 44,020 new cases of thyroid cancer in 2024. Surgery is the main treatment for thyroid cancer, removing cancerous tissue to prevent its ability to spread.

Managing Thyroid Nodules

Surgically removing thyroid nodules is necessary when they are causing problems, suspicious for cancer, or growing rapidly.

Correcting Endocrine Disorders of the Parathyroid and Adrenal glands

Surgical procedures on the parathyroid and adrenal glands are essential for controlling or curing conditions such as hyperparathyroidism and adrenal tumors.

Types of Thyroid Surgeries

Thyroid surgeries most commonly performed include:

  • Thyroidectomy: The surgical removal of part, or all, of the thyroid gland. There are several variations of thyroidectomy, including:
    • Total Thyroidectomy: Removal of the entire thyroid gland.
    • Thyroid Lobectomy: This involves removing only one lobe of the thyroid gland. It is typically done when the problem area is confined to one lobe and the other lobe is normal.
    • Completion Thyroidectomy: This procedure is performed if a previous thyroid surgery was done and now the leftover thyroid tissue needs to be removed to “complete” the process.
  • Thyroidectomy with Neck Dissection: In cases where thyroid cancer spreads to nearby lymph nodes, a thyroidectomy may be combined with a neck dissection to remove affected lymph nodes.

As with any surgery, each type listed above has advantages and risks. The choice of procedure depends on factors such as the nature of the thyroid condition, its size, and whether there are concerns about cancer or other future complications. Patient factors are also considered in surgical planning.

Regardless of what surgery is necessary, it is imperative that they are performed by experienced surgeons specialized in endocrine surgery to ensure optimal outcomes for patients.

For more information on endocrine and thyroid surgery at Independence Health System, call 877-771-1234