Week of October 1, 2012

Q: My mom has a thyroid cyst. It was biopsied and said to be benign. Thank God! The cyst keeps filling with fluid and returns after needle drainage. When large, it is very uncomfortable for her. What are her options?

- Vivi

A: Vivi,

The vast majority of thyroid cysts are benign and usually cause very few symptoms. Some do cause pressure, pain, and difficulty swallowing when they enlarge. Your mother's thyroid cyst appears to be symptomatic and recurrent; assuming she is fit for a small surgical procedure, she would be best served with removing a portion of the thyroid gland. This removes the problem. Leaving the cyst alone or repeating needle drainage are options, but it doesn't sound like these will be useful to your mother.

Q: I had my right thyroid lobe removed in 1984. I now have nodules in the left lobe. Surgery has been recommended. How can I tell if a general surgeon can do this competently?

- Victoria

A: Victoria,

The AAES can not determine which surgeons are competent to perform this procedure, but there are important bits of information to know about any surgeon performing any operation in the United States: 1- are they board certified? 2- is the operation an area of interest for them? 3- do they have special training in this procedure? 4- do they have experience in the operation? 5- how many procedures have they performed? 6- what complications have they had? 7- do referring physicians recommend them with confidence? 8- do you know of people that have had this person as their surgeon?

We encourage you to use the surgeon locator on this web site to identify surgeons in your area that have a special interest in Endocrine Surgery.

Week of September 10, 2012

Q: I want to consult a surgeon in the Los Angeles/San Diego area about having thyroidectomy. Can you help me?

- Abigail

A: Abigail,

We encourage you to use our Endocrine Surgeon Locator provided for you. Type in the five digit zip code and you will be supplied with numerous endocrine surgeons in that region. Want to identify more endocrine surgeons? Type in the adjoining zip codes in the region. Check it out! Thousands have done so already.

Q: I had parathyroid surgery in March of 2011. Never had problems with my thyroid. After surgery, I was hyperthyroid and then went hypothyroid. All the autoimmune tests are normal. Can parathyroid surgery cause these problems?

- Regina

A: Regina,

Parathyroid surgery is typically performed with very few complications. We worry about nerve injuries, bleeding in the wound (neck hematoma), and not finding the abnormal parathyroid gland(s). While the thyroid gland is rotated and manipulated during parathyroid surgery, it is rarely traumatized sufficiently to cause patient harm or a change in thyroid function. Even if some blood vessels supplying the thyroid gland are tied off (ligated), the thyroid gland remains very resilient. We suspect the changes you have experienced are not related to the parathyroid surgery.

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