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Old 05-20-2011, 12:34 PM   #1
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71rivers HB User
Partial thyroidectomy - anyone's experiences?

Hi all

Interested to hear anyone's experiences of partial thyroidectomy - how long were you in hospital, how long did recovery take, any side effects, how do you feel after surgery, just anything at all as I've been told today I will probably have to have this done.
I have a thyroid cyst - fluid biopsy was clear, but the ultrasound showed some areas of solid tissue, and 2 or 3 other nodules (I dont know the exact details of these, only that they are probably nothing to worry about). The specialist suggested either another FNA with ultrasound to get a biopsy of the solid tissue in the cyst, or just to go straight ahead and remove the right lobe of the thyroid gland. As i didn't really know which option to go for he suggested the FNA first then probably removal of the lobe at a later date, basically to be on the safe side and also to cut out the number of visits to get the cyst aspirated every time it fills back up with fluid.
Is partial thyroidectomy the best treatment? Or is it a bit extreme? (some of my friends seem to think so!) Obviously if the biopsy of the solid tissue is cancerous then removal of the lobe is going to happen, but if the biopsy is clear is it still necessary? I'm just wondering how major this type of surgery is and what to expect if it goes ahead.
Many thanks everyone, wishing you all well.

 
Old 05-20-2011, 12:55 PM   #2
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Re: Partial thyroidectomy - anyone's experiences?

Unfortunately, the only way to know for sure about thyroid cancer, is to remove the entire lobe. It's a stinky way to go, but the only true way to know.

Every surgery is major.....the key is to have an amazing thyroid surgeon that does many a week. This will increase your chances of a perfect outcome. Are there nodules or cysts on the other side? You may even consider removing the entire thyroid if there are.

You can live a long healthy life without your thyroid, and with one lobe, you often don't even need replacement hormone medication. So you are doing what you are supposed to do medically in this situation.

My surgery was a breeze (a lot better than my c-section!), I was out of the hospital the next morning, I have no scar to speak of, I healed pretty quick. You need to stay over night to watch the calcium levels. Get a great surgeon, and you will do well.

 
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Old 05-31-2011, 06:30 PM   #3
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Re: Partial thyroidectomy - anyone's experiences?

Hi 71rivers

how have things progressed since you posted your questions? Just to give you my experience - I had the same op - right lobectomy 8 days ago. I had mine done at the royal marsden in Chelsea, London, by Mr Clarke, lovely experienced surgeon. They operate on malignant and non malignant thyroid disorders. Mine is very likely benign, but I go back to clinic tomorrow, so will find out for sure with the biopsy result. Mine was 6cms, but my thyroid was working fine, so I was reluctant to remove something which was still working ok. However, I like you, posted here, and Reece above, also posted me a very reassuring and logical reply, like yours above. They really can't tell if its cancer unless they remove it, and why is it enlarging, even if not cancerous, it is still malfunctioning. If you have no nodules on the other lobe, you, like me, are lucky in that all we need is the op, and no thyroid meds afterwards because the other ,obe should work fine. It doesnt hurt at all - they kept me in 2 nights, as I had a wound drain in, a tube from my neck, it stops fluid building in the wound. Once that was out, I went home and after 1 week of rest, I feel fine. They treated me very kindly as they knew I was a staff member! I have started to drive again. My wound is still covered and will take much more time to heal, but most people seem to say that after 1 year, you cant notice it at all.

All the best and please ask any more questions you would like.
Kind wishes
clarabells

 
Old 05-31-2011, 06:37 PM   #4
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Re: Partial thyroidectomy - anyone's experiences?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 71rivers View Post
Hi all

Interested to hear anyone's experiences of partial thyroidectomy - how long were you in hospital, how long did recovery take, any side effects, how do you feel after surgery, just anything at all as I've been told today I will probably have to have this done.
I have a thyroid cyst - fluid biopsy was clear, but the ultrasound showed some areas of solid tissue, and 2 or 3 other nodules (I dont know the exact details of these, only that they are probably nothing to worry about). The specialist suggested either another FNA with ultrasound to get a biopsy of the solid tissue in the cyst, or just to go straight ahead and remove the right lobe of the thyroid gland. As i didn't really know which option to go for he suggested the FNA first then probably removal of the lobe at a later date, basically to be on the safe side and also to cut out the number of visits to get the cyst aspirated every time it fills back up with fluid.
Is partial thyroidectomy the best treatment? Or is it a bit extreme? (some of my friends seem to think so!) Obviously if the biopsy of the solid tissue is cancerous then removal of the lobe is going to happen, but if the biopsy is clear is it still necessary? I'm just wondering how major this type of surgery is and what to expect if it goes ahead.
Many thanks everyone, wishing you all well.

Check out my post below. It's very detailed about the surgery.

 
Old 02-22-2012, 12:57 PM   #5
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Re: Partial thyroidectomy - anyone's experiences?

Lucky Terry,

I don't see your post about your surgery!

Mine is scheduled for April 9th. Left lobe coming out for sure. I have several on the right lobe as well, so won't know till they biopsy during surgery.

Would love to hear your story!

 
Old 02-22-2012, 01:18 PM   #6
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Re: Partial thyroidectomy - anyone's experiences?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lolly808 View Post
Lucky Terry,

I don't see your post about your surgery!

Mine is scheduled for April 9th. Left lobe coming out for sure. I have several on the right lobe as well, so won't know till they biopsy during surgery.

Would love to hear your story!

Here ya go! It's long but here it is!!! By the way, I thought if you clicked on my name you could see my posts. All of them. I even posted pictures of my incision at one time while it was healing. Just FYI...this all happened May of 2011. Now, today you can barely see the scar it's so faint and right inside a natural crease. I really wish I would have dealt with this in the beginning and not waited almost 5 years. I feel great. The operation's so easy....at least it was for me. No complications!





Hi everyone. I'm so excited today because I got the best news ever. Your thyroid nodule was benign. You see, I had a partial thyroidectomy last Thursday and today my surgeon called me to tell me it was all good, this was over, and I did not have cancer.

But this is not why I'm posting this or why I joined this community. I want to help others with my story. While I know that not ALL stories will end up like mine, the vast majority could and I know that I have been on these message boards just looking stuff up on and off for almost 5 years looking for answers and I didn't find them. Maybe I can help you!

It all started when I found a little lump in my neck that I thought was a swollen lymph node. I went to my doctor and he thought the same thing and sent me for an ultrasound. The lump turned out to be a 2.3 cm thyroid nodule. I went to an ENT after that, and he had it biopsied. The FNA came back with hurthle cells. It was unclear if it was cancer or not with those cells as they can be found with both benign and malignant tumors. He sent me to an Endocrinologist, the BEST Endo in the entire world, I'm convinced now. Please, if you are in Orlando....PLEASE e-mail me because I'll give you his info. Anyway, the Endocrinologist would have preferred removal of at least half of my thyroid at that time, as that is the standard of care when you have hurthle cells. But I was terrified to have my throat cut open. I sing, and I was terrified of that surgery. He said we could wait and watch it and get Ultrasounds every few months to check for changes or growth, but that the only way we would know for sure was to have it removed. So, even though I was scared, I got a referral to the BEST thyroid surgeon in this entire state (I'm convinced of this) and went and saw him. He confirmed what my Endo said and said the only way to know if I had cancer for sure was to remove at least half of it. I scheduled surgery, but let fear get the better of me and 3 days before it was time to be operated on, I ran to my Endo and told him I wanted to watch it instead. He agreed to that and so I cancelled my surgery.

We watched the nodule by ultrasound since 11/2006. Every 4 - 6 months, I had one. In the first 2 years there was very little growth. At first the Endo and Surgeon said my chances were 80/20 favoring benignity. After 2 years of very little growth, the endo said my chances were better than that. After 2 years, when I would get the Ultrasound, there was some growth. About 3 mm or so each time, but steady growth. The Endo kept watching it still, however, until this past December, when he said it was time again to do another FNA. We did the biopsy and it came back the same as the first one. With hurthle cell changes. Actually the diagnosis was Follicular Cell Neoplasm I believe. Still not sure if it was cancer or not. The doctor said, let's just watch it and in 4 months we will repeat Ultrasound. Now, I had been getting my Ultrasounds every 6 months as opposed to 4 when there was signs of very little growth. Now we're back to every 4 months because of the steady growth. Mind you, this never grew quickly or by THAT much, it was just steadily growing. What started out as 2.3 cm in 11/06, was now 3.4 cm in 12/10. After this second biopsy, we waited 4 months and repeated the Ultrasound. The technician said there was no growth from the previous one so I was really ecstatic. However, she was wrong. DO NOT take the word of any radiology technologist. They do not understand always, the criteria by which change is significant (or not). I went to my Endo thinking it was all good and we were gonna just keep watching it and he shocked the living daylights out of me. He said it had grown more that ever before. By 5 mm. That turned out to be wrong though. I repeated the U/S and it was only 3 mm. But regardless of that, the Endo said he was not comfortable watching it any more. That I needed it to be removed. I scheduled an Appt. with the SAME surgeon (thank God he agreed to remove it again since I cancelled last time right before the surgery) and he said the same thing as the Endo. It was time to remove it! Because of the steady growth for the past 1 1/2 years after no growth the previous 2 years. I scheduled the surgery right away. In fact, from the time I got the latest U/S result until the time I had surgery, I believe it was about 1 month. I asked the surgeon to PLEASE only remove one side unless he had a strong suspicion on Frozen Section during the operation that it was cancer. He agreed. I wanted this because half a thyroid could still function and you MIGHT not have to take thyroid medicine for the rest of your life if you still had half a thyroid. Also, I would only be risking half my vocal cords and parathyroid glands (the calcium producing glands) if I only removed half. Obviously, I am still wanting to roll the dice. The surgeon made me understand VERY CLEARLY that if it turned out to be cancer, he would have to go back in and remove the other half of my thyroid. I wanted to roll the dice. He did tell me and so did the Endo, that they did not think this was cancer. So I had some hope that this was the best decision. Only removing half.

You have to know that I CHOSE TO ROLL THE DICE WITH MY HEALTH and watch this thyroid nodule for 4 1/2 years instead of removing it at the beginning as my Endo & Surgeon advised. This is not the decision most people make, or should make in my opinion. If I had had cancer, I would have let it grow for over 4 years which could have made it harder to treat.

Anyway, I had surgery last Thursday. Prior to going into pre-op, I was waiting outside with my boyfriend and when the pre-op nurse came to get me, I started balling like a baby. It took some talking to and coaxing, but she was so wonderful and she got me to go back and get ready for the surgery. I was terrified! The Surgeon and Anesthesiologist were the MOST terrific team anyone could have. I was told that so many times at the hospital. I stayed overnight at the hospital because that's what my surgeon wanted. I had no post surgery complications. I never even took a tylenol. That's how minor the pain was. There was a little swelling and redness around my incision and to the bottom of my neck and even a little on my upper chest. I felt weak but good for the most part. I could only have a full liquid diet the first 24 hours (jello, cream of wheat, ice cream, hot chocolate...not too bad at all). My appetite was great, I was even hungry the night of my surgery. LOL! My neck was not really tight or sore at all. My throat a bit uncomfortable of course, but not bad enough to take pain meds. Although my doc did prescribe them in case I needed them (of course I did not fill the prescription). The incision is the most incredible looking thing I've ever seen. I went to the movies 3 days post op (Sunday) and I don't think if people weren't looking for it, they would have even noticed it. The surgeon put the incision right in a natural crease in my neck and it's healing wonderfully. You need to know. I'm only 5 days post op. I'm still lounging around in bed. My body does not feel totally normal yet. I get a little weak feeling at times, but for the most part, I feel that I'm 75% back to normal. And this is not even a week out yet.

So, I was worried whether this was cancer or not....OF COURSE....and because my surgery was on Thursday last week and it was a long Memorial Day weekend, I never imagined my biopsy results would be back yet, but I called the surgeons office and asked how long it usually takes, so I wouldn't sit around for the next few days worrying myself into a frenzy. They told me they thought they were back already and that they would have the Surgeon call me. Of course, all kinds of things started running through my mind, like oh no, it's back so soon because it's cancer. They're gonna have to go back in and take the other side out. I waited for about an hour or so, the surgeon called and said in his very matter of fact, soft way. Your nodule was good. It was a benign nodule. I cried, screamed in his ear and asked...."so this is over" and he said "yes....I'll see you Friday".

My appointment for my check up post surgery after 1 week is this Friday and I am looking forward to giving my surgeon the biggest hug and thank you he's ever gotten. He is the greatest artist alive in my eyes.

Here's why I joined this Healthboard today. I've seen so many postings about this over the past 4 years. They have confused me. I didn't know what to do. I was risking my health for years out of fear. If I had this to do all over again, I would have done what the Endo and Surgeon recommended at the beginning. As well as the ENT and my PCP. I would have had it removed, if I knew then what I know now. It would have been hard, but no harder than it was almost 5 years later. I wouldn't have risked my health for something I was ultimately going to have to do anyway. That's what I wanted you to know. If you have hurthle cells in your nodule, and you in all likelihood will have to surgically have it removed one day...think twice about risking your health and having to go every 4 or 6 months for Ultrasound, not knowing what it was going to show. All of that is not worth it when in the end, you could and most likely will (because the odds were always WAY in my favor) be like me. And all of that worrying and risking my health was for nothing. My nodule was benign and I am over the moon now and I could have saved myself all of that agonizing.

And lastly, what if it were cancer????? What would waiting almost 5 years had done to my overall prognosis. As any doctor will tell you...thyroid cancer, if you have to have cancer, is probably the one to get. Because when caught early, most types are very curable. But waiting 5 years could make that another story I suppose. LISTEN TO YOUR DOCTORS. They know!

Good luck to any of you that this might have helped a little bit. I'd love to hear your stories.

Last edited by Terri880; 02-22-2012 at 01:26 PM.

 
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Old 02-22-2012, 02:19 PM   #7
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Re: Partial thyroidectomy - anyone's experiences?

Thank you so much!

I will click on your name and see what else I can find!

I'm nervous of course. I wish I didn't have to wait till april 9th for my surgery. I would do it this afternoon if it was up to me! I'm not a patient waiter. lol

My throat is very uncomfortable due to the size, so I am really anxious to get this out. Of course I am also anxious about thyroid cancer, but from everything I've read and all the great people on this board, I am reassured. Even if it is cancer, like my doc says, it is a Wimpy Cancer!

Thanks again Terri! I'll let you know how everything goes! I love that we can all learn and help one another here.

 
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Old 02-22-2012, 03:37 PM   #8
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Re: Partial thyroidectomy - anyone's experiences?

You are most welcome!!! I wish you nothing but luck and love. Let me know how it turns out.

I have a picture of the scar right after the surgery in my profile if you click on my name. Let me know if you can view it. Because it's so amazing. I don't know for sure, but this was probably like a week or two after my surgery. Maybe I'm just forgetting but I know it was a really short time after it.

Last edited by Terri880; 02-22-2012 at 03:39 PM.

 
Old 02-22-2012, 04:35 PM   #9
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Re: Partial thyroidectomy - anyone's experiences?

Thanks again Terri.

I am not even worried about the scar at all.

I had open heart surgery 2 years ago. My scar doesn't look bad at all. It is worse down at the bottom where no one can see it. I am actually proud of my scar. That surgery was really tough and I survived!

This will be a piece of cake compared to that. I am still really nervous though. Just the thought of another surgical procedure leaves me a little shaky.

I know it will all be fine though....

hugs

 
Old 02-22-2012, 08:07 PM   #10
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Re: Partial thyroidectomy - anyone's experiences?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lolly808 View Post
Thanks again Terri.

I am not even worried about the scar at all.

I had open heart surgery 2 years ago. My scar doesn't look bad at all. It is worse down at the bottom where no one can see it. I am actually proud of my scar. That surgery was really tough and I survived!

This will be a piece of cake compared to that. I am still really nervous though. Just the thought of another surgical procedure leaves me a little shaky.

I know it will all be fine though....

hugs

Oh my goodness, if you got through open heart surgery, this is going to be like a walk in the park for you. This surgery is not bad at all. I can only speak for myself, but I'm such a huge baby, I can't help but think after what you've been through already, this will be very easy for you. I understand the nerves though, trust me.

It will be fine!!!

 
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