Our thyroid gland is located below our voice box (where the “Adam's apple” is on some people). It creates the hormones which tell our body how to behave, making sure that our cells and tissues work properly.
If we have a problem with our thyroid, in some cases we might need surgery to have it taken out. This type of surgery is called a thyroidectomy. There are a number of different conditions which might require us to have a thyroidectomy.
Sometimes our thyroid might produce too many hormones (hyperthyroidism). If our thyroid gland is producing too many hormones, we say it is “overactive.” This can lead to symptoms such as anxiety, mood swings, trouble sleeping, sensitivity to heat, swelling in our neck, heart palpitations, trembling, weight loss or feeling perpetually tired.
On the other hand, our thyroid might not produce enough hormones (hypothyroidism). If our thyroid isn't producing enough hormones, we say it is “underactive.” This can lead to feelings of tiredness, depression and sensitivity to the cold, as well as muscle aches and weight gain.
Both overactive and underactive thyroid conditions can be hard to identify, as the symptoms come and go and are not always obvious. They can affect anyone, though they are more likely to affect women than men. If our thyroid isn't working properly it can shape how we feel emotionally as well as physically. It may impact upon our energy and our ability to engage with different activities, making day to day life feel that much harder.
Our thyroid gland can become swollen in way that makes it difficult or painful for us to swallow and to breathe. This can be as a result of a non-cancerous thyroid enlargement known as “goitre.” Goitre is often caused by an iodine-deficient diet but can also be caused by an overactive thyroid where there is too much iodine in the body.
If we are experiencing thyroid problems such as goitre, hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, especially if the problems are recurring or particularly severe, a thyroidectomy might be the best solution. Some of symptoms mentioned above can indicate the presence of thyroid cancer, which would also require a thyroidectomy.
If you have any of these symptoms, the best thing is to come in for an assessment where my team and I can get a clear overview of what is going on and advise you on the best course of treatment.
As part of your assessment, I will find out about your medical history and look at any possible causes for the symptoms you are feeling. I may carry out tests such as a nasendoscopy to get a clearer picture of what is going on. A nasendoscopy is where I examine your vocal cords using a very small camera which is passed through your nose, enabling me to look inside your throat.
I will usually advise you to have a thyroidectomy if I find that cancer is present, or if I suspect that it might be given your symptoms. I may also recommend surgery if your thyroid is swollen to such an extent that it is affecting your ability to breathe or to swallow, or if another thyroid condition is having a severe impact upon your day to day life.
If you have a thyroidectomy, it will mean staying in hospital overnight. You will be given a general anaesthetic before the surgery and when you wake up you might need to have a drainage tube attached to you to take away any extra fluid. You will have a scar on your neck and sometimes there can be bruising, although this will usually fade after a couple of weeks. Your voice might feel weak following surgery, and it can time for you to recover full strength. Very rarely, your voice will be permanently affected. It is also normal to have a stiff neck and a sore throat afterwards; these are all normal and nothing to worry about. I audit my surgical outcomes in line with the British Association of Endocrine and Thyroid Surgeons (BAETS) database. My outcomes are easily accessed on this forum.
At Circle, our Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Unit specialises in giving an accurate diagnosis for any medical conditions relating to the ear, throat and nose, followed by the appropriate non-surgical or surgical treatment. I work as part of a wider team of experts, each with our own sub-speciality, and together we will identify and treat whatever problems you may be having, making sure that you get the best possible treatment and the highest quality of care.
As a dedicated throat and nose doctor, I have spent years helping people achieve a better quality of life by providing treatment for the range of illnesses and injuries that can hold us back. If you are worried you may have a problem with your thyroid, a consultation with me will help to confirm what exactly is going on.
- Adenoid removal
- Deafness treatment
- Ear infection treatment
- ENT assessment
- Functional endoscopic sinus surgery
- Grommets insertion (glue ear treatment)
- Head and neck malignancy surgery
- Hearing loss management
- Hoarseness diagnosis and treatment
- Nasal surgery (septoplasty)
- Pharyngeal pouch surgery
- Salivary gland surgery
- Sinusitis treatment
- Sleep apnoea treatment
- Snoring treatment
- Split earlobe repair
- Thyroid and parathyroid surgery
- Thyroid lobectomy
- Total thyroidectomy
- Tonsil removal (tonsillectomy)