We at Austin Thyroid Surgeons are strong believers in what we call “Natural Thyroid Surgery”. What do we mean by this? It means that each and every patient is approached as an individual, and we strive to help you keep as much of your own natural thyroid as possible. The thyroid gland has two lobes, one on the right and one on the left, as well as the isthmus which is a bridge connecting the two. Each of these lobes, and the isthmus, should be evaluated as its own separate organ. In other words, a perfectly functional thyroid lobe should never be removed “just because” you happen to be in the operating room for the other side. And if only the isthmus needs to be removed for a centrally located nodule, both lobes can be left in place many times. And even more importantly, you should never feel rushed into going to surgery, even in the face of thyroid cancer.
Any decision to go to the operating room should be thoughtful and purposeful, with you as the patient having a full understanding of the indications and being in complete agreement. It is always your right as a patient to get a second opinion, and we encourage this if a major surgery is recommended and you have any hesitation about it. Many thyroid cancers these days can be treated by removing only one lobe of your thyroid, and this is the recommendation by the American Thyroid Association for most cancers up to 4 centimeters in size. It is old thinking to say “Just remove the whole thyroid if there is a cancer”.
Retaining as much of your thyroid as possible is extremely important to maintain your natural hormonal balance. Even with excellent replacement hormones such as Synthroid and Armour, there are many patients who have a very difficult time achieving an acceptable state while on replacement. For this reason, if we can save even half of your thyroid gland even in cancer cases, our patients can hopefully avoid hormone replacement and the potential side effects.
So take the “Natural Approach” and #SaveYourThyroid!!
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