Treatment for Thyroid Gland Diseases
The thyroid gland is a shield-shaped gland in our neck where the hormones T3 and T4, which are of great importance in body metabolism, are produced. The level of hormone secreted by the thyroid gland in the blood should be within a certain range.
What Is Goiter?
Diseases with enlarged thyroid gland is called goiter in general. The word goiter comes from the Latin gutturia and means throat. The enlargement of the thyroid gland may be in the form of enlargement of the whole thyroid tissue (diffuse goiter) or the enlargement may be due to nodules in the thyroid gland (nodular goiter).
Diagnostic Methods for Thyroid Gland Diseases
We can classify diagnostic methods for thyroid gland diseases as blood tests, imaging methods and pathological examination.
Blood Tests: Free T3, free T4, TSH, anti-TPO, Anti TG, Thyroglobulin Levels, Thyroid Receptor Antibody
Imaging Method: Thyroid Ultrasonography and Thyroid Scintigraphy
Pathological Examination: Thyroid Fine Needle Aspiration Biopsy
Other tests are performed if deemed necessary according to the examination and basic test results of the patients. Basic tests can be listed as thyroid ultrasonography, TSH, free T3 and free T4.
How Does the Thyroid Gland Work?
The main hormone that regulates the functioning of the thyroid gland is TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone). The pituitary gland in the brain secretes this hormone and the hormone allows the secretion of the hormones T3 and T4 from the thyroid gland. This hormone balance is very important for the balance of all systems in our body. Hormonal imbalances negatively affect all systems in the body.
Who is at Risk for Thyroid Gland Diseases?
Thyroid Gland Diseases are most common in people with a family history of thyroid gland diseases, smokers, women in menopause, and people who have received radiation (radiation therapy) to the neck region.
How Is Thyroid Test Done?
Giving 1 vial of blood is enough for thyroid tests. Your necessary thyroid tests can be checked in this blood work. Blood test results will be available on the same day. In this way, whether there is a disorder in the body’s thyroid hormone balance will be determined.
How is Thyroid Surgery Performed?
If a problem that requires the removal of all or part of your thyroid gland is detected as a result of the tests done, surgery will be essential. Contrary to popular belief, very few thyroid patients need to have surgery. Thyroid gland surgeries are performed under general anesthesia. The thyroid gland is reached from a thin incision made in your neck during thyroid surgery.
In thyroid surgery, your parathyroid glands, which are located behind your thyroid gland, and the nerves leading to the vocal cords, should not be damaged. Intraoperative nerve monitoring can be used in surgery to reduce the risk. The fact that the surgeon performing your surgery has mastered the anatomy of the region and is experienced in thyroid surgery reduces these risks. The operation lasts on average 1-3 hours.
After surgery, a thin material called a drainage tube is placed at the surgery area to prevent blood from gathering up in your neck. Tubes are used to facilitate blood removal. Generally, it is allowed to begin eating regular food 8 hours after the operation and you are discharged the next day after your drainage tubes are removed. No painful process is expected after the operation. Removal of drainage tubes is also very simple and pain-free.
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Are Thyroid Gland Surgeries Risky? Does The Operation Leave A Scar?
The risk of hoarseness or permanent damage to the parathyroid gland after thyroid gland surgery is below 1% if performed by an experienced surgeon. The main reason for this risk is the anatomical location of nerves and parathyroid glands in different positions. Intraoperative nerve monitoring can be helpful in surgery. If you do not have a wound healing disorder in the operation area, the operation will leave a scar in the form of a very fine line. This scar fade to be nearly imperceptible.
Diseases of the thyroid gland can be considered as follows;
- Diseases that cause overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism)
- Diseases causing underactive thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism)
- Thyroid nodules
If we approach the thyroid gland diseases one by one:Update
Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) occurs when your thyroid gland produces too much of the T3 and T4 hormones in the blood. Increasing these hormones increases the rate of many metabolic conditions and the following symptoms are common.
The most common symptoms of hyperthyroidism are follows:
- Excessive perspiration
- Hot flushes
- Menstrual irregularity
- Hand tremors
- Weight loss despite normal diet
The first purpose of treatment is to maintain hormone balance. For maintaining the balance, drug treatment is administered first. Radioactive iodine therapy or surgical treatment may sometimes be required in the treatment of high thyroid hormone levels. These treatment modalities will become clear after your condition, examination, and tests are completed.
Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) is a condition in which your thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough T3 and T4 hormones in the blood. The decrease in these hormones decreases the rate of many metabolic conditions and the following symptoms are common.
The most common symptoms of hypothyroidism are as follows:
- Body edema
- Thickening of hair
- Menstrual irregularity
Hypothyroidism treatment includes the principle of providing the necessary hormone level balance. Treatment modalities will be determined after you are examined.
Masses in the thyroid gland that form outside of the regular structure of the gland are called thyroid nodules. These nodules are divided into 2 subgroups as cystic and solid.
Evaluation of thyroid nodules is primarily performed by thyroid ultrasonography and sometimes thyroid scintigraphy. Some of these nodules may require a fine needle aspiration biopsy.
Radioactive Iodine Therapy
Radioactive iodine therapy is a form of iodine-containing radioactive material. It is administered to the patient orally in capsule or liquid form. It is absorbed from the digestive system and gathers up in thyroid gland (goiter) cells. It ceases the activity of thyroid cells with the effect of radiation. Meanwhile, the patient should stay in a private room and no visitors should be accepted. In this way, the radiation taken into the body cannot damage the environment. Radioactive iodine therapy is a treatment modality that can be administered in some types of thyroid cancers and diseases in which the thyroid gland is overactive. It can never be administered in pregnant women. Patients are advised to wait at least 6 months to get pregnant after radioactive iodine therapy.
Thyroid Needle Biopsy
Thyroid fine-needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB) is of great importance in the identification of nodules. Needle biopsy grants us the chance to detect the structure of that nodule. It helps to distinguish us differentiate benign from malignant thyroid nodules. A thyroid needle biopsy is the removal of a piece of tissue containing cells of a suspicious nodule with a fine needle. The procedure takes about 5 minutes. Preliminary preparation is not needed for biopsy. You can continue your daily routine after the procedure.
Thyroid needle aspiration biopsy is of great importance in the diagnosis of thyroid cancer. Needle biopsy from each nodule is not needed, and the procedure grants valuable findings in case of clinical suspicion.
The Patient doesn’t need to have surgery for most thyroid nodules.
As a result of the tests done, the most suitable treatment modality will be determined for you. When the results of the tests obtained, drug therapy, follow-up, additional examination, needle biopsy, radioactive iodine treatment or surgery may be recommended accordingly.
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