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Alternatives to Surgery for Hyperthyroidism

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Old 06-19-2014, 12:02 PM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2014
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emmaa1988 HB User
Alternatives to Surgery for Hyperthyroidism


I was diagnosed as having hyperthyroidism back in November after discovering a large-ish lump of about 5cm in my thyroid gland. After several tests (ultrasound, thyroid function test, blood tests, but curiously no biopsy) I was referred to a surgeon without much of a clue what surgery actually involved, and told that the nodule and possibly the entire gland had to be removed. I was never given any alternative options.

Having now researched surgery and the outcomes, I'm not at all keen on the idea but I have no idea what my alternatives are. I would like to know if anyone has any luck with treating an overactive thyroid and shrinking thyroid nodules with something other than surgery. I've stumbled across a couple of alternative treatments, but most of these seem to only mention hypothyroidism.

I look forward to hearing anyone's experiences.

- Emma

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Old 06-19-2014, 04:40 PM   #2
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Re: Alternatives to Surgery for Hyperthyroidism

Where did you research that you read about poor outcomes from thyroid surgery? I know that rai---radioiodine which is your other option, often results in poor outcomes, in terms of destroying the thyroid gland and nodules, but surgery is usually pretty much a precise way to fix the problem.

What kind of surgeon did you meet? You need one that does many thyroid surgeries a week, and one that will explain things well to you so you understand what and why you are doing it. 5cm is very large---it's likely obstructive at this point, and is becoming more challenging to remove---these sometimes grow out of control and even grow down into your chest.

If you are sure you have hypERthyroidism (a low tsh) as opposed to hyPOthyroidism (a high tsh) it can be difficult to manage in preparation for surgery. They will have to medicate you and make sure your thyroid levels are normal---an endo would have to work with your surgeon if you are hyperthyroid (too much hormone).

Old 06-19-2014, 05:53 PM   #3
Join Date: Dec 2012
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debmc1958 HB User
Re: Alternatives to Surgery for Hyperthyroidism

I have a 5 cm nodule also and my tsh recently dropped off the scale at I think .19 but other levels are normal. I had two biopsies, both negative and I think three ultrasounds. They suspect subclinical hyperthyroidism and I'm supposed to have the uptake test but that won't be for a few weeks due to other stuff going on in my life. Meanwhile, I will have another blood test. I don't know yet what my options will be. I think I would prefer surgery over RAI. The other option is medication—propylthiouracil (PTU) and methimazole (also known as Tapazole). The medications stop the thyroid from producing T3 and T4 hormones.

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