What does it mean to be a true “minimally invasive surgeon” in the world of thyroid and parathyroid surgery? At Austin Thyroid Surgeons we feel it means quite a bit more than simply making small incisions when surgery is necessary. Of course, when surgery is indicated we focus significant effort to achieve the best cosmetic outcomes for you and minimizing scar tissue. We want to preserve your beauty just as much as you do.
But just because you go to see a surgeon does not always mean you need surgery! This is very important to remember, and we encourage you to have detailed discussions with your doctors discussing the need for surgery. As a matter of fact, we are so happy when we get to deliver the news to some of our patients that surgery is not indicated. This sometimes sounds strange coming from surgeons we are told, but we take great pride in knowing that we are doing the most to minimize unnecessary surgeries for patients who come to see us. We have cut our surgeries in half for a select group of thyroid nodule patients where favorable genetic test results have allowed us to do so.
We extend our “light touch approach” not only to the actual surgery, but to the more important decision of whether surgery is actually necessary in the first place. There are many patients with thyroid nodules who can be followed closely with ultrasounds, especially in this era of genetic testing. With a benign genetic test done on an FNA needle biopsy it is very safe (>95%) to follow even suspicious appearing nodules and not perform surgery.
This approach applies to both thyroid and parathyroid surgery, as there are many factors that go into the decision for surgery in both cases. So ask your primary doctor, your surgeon, and yourself…. Is this surgery really necessary? In many cases surgery will absolutely be the right choice, but in some it may not be.
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