Thyroidectomy in Iran: all you need to know
Thyroidectomy or thyroid removal surgery is the most effective treatment to treat a diseased or cancerous thyroid gland. Thyroid removal surgery involves removing all or a part of the thyroid. It is a minimally invasive procedure and has a short recovery period. Moreover, thyroidectomy in Iran can cost a fraction of that in countries like the USA. Continue reading to learn more about the surgery and how international patients can benefit from thyroidectomy in Iran.
What is thyroidectomy?
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located at the lower part of the neck, right below our Adam’s apple, and above the collarbone. It produces hormones that circulate throughout the body, regulating its metabolism, temperature, and other bodily functions.
Thyroidectomy is a procedure to remove the thyroid or a part of it when an abnormality is found in the gland. The surgery is performed to either prevent the growth of cancerous tumors or relieve the symptoms of other abnormalities like thyroid enlargement (goiter).
Why is thyroidectomy needed?
Thyroidectomy is an effective treatment option for conditions and diseases of the thyroid. Some of these conditions can be merely inconvenient while others like thyroid cancer might be life-threatening. An endocrinologist may recommend thyroid removal surgery if the patient is diagnosed with one of the following conditions and cannot benefit from medications alone:
Thyroid cancer: Thyroid cancer is the main reason for thyroidectomy. If left untreated, the malign tumor in the thyroid can spread the cancerous cells to other areas in the body. Thus, surgery is recommended for removing a part (if not all) of the cancerous thyroid. Usually, there are no symptoms. Yet, the patient might experience symptoms related to the size of the nodules, including shortness of breath, difficulty swelling, and visible lumps in the neck.
Thyroid nodules: Thyroid nodules are small lumps that show up in the thyroid. They are rarely cancerous or cause symptoms. Yet, some specialists might recommend surgery for removal of the nodules when the chance of them turning malignant is high. The symptoms are similar to those of thyroid cancer.
Hyperthyroidism: Hyperthyroidism refers to a condition in which the thyroid releases too much of T4 and T3 hormones. The most common cause of hyperthyroidism is Graves’ disease which is an autoimmune condition. It can lead to many symptoms like high blood pressure, nervousness, heat intolerance, seating, and weight gain. To treat hyperthyroidism, the doctor might recommend medication, radioactive iodine or surgery.
Goiter: Goiter or abnormal enlargement of the thyroid can cause difficulty swelling, breathing problems, hoarseness of voice, and coughs. When symptoms get uncomfortable, surgical removal of all or part of the thyroid gland is recommended. The condition often occurs following other thyroid diseases including hyperthyroidism and thyroid cancer.
Hashimoto’s disease: Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune condition in which your immune system attacks the thyroid gland. As a result, your thyroid produces too little hormones (hypothyroidism). The symptoms include depression, mental fogginess, joint pain, dry skin, and fatigue. This condition is mostly treated with medications. However, some symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease might interfere with your quality of life. For instance, you might have difficulty swallowing. In such cases, surgery is recommended.
Diagnosis of thyroid diseases
Certain symptoms such as fatigue, having dry skin, constipation, and weight gain might imply that there is an underlying cause related to diseased thyroid. In such cases, an endocrinologist performs a series of tests and evaluations to pinpoint the problem, including:
- Blood tests: By testing your blood’s level of thyroid hormones, the doctor will find if you’re hyperthyroid, hypothyroid, or are experiencing any kind of autoimmune disease. A blood test can also help with identifying some types of thyroid cancer.
- Imaging: Your doctor might also use different imaging techniques to find the problem more accurately. Ultrasound, thyroid scan, and radioactive iodine uptake are some common imaging techniques when diagnosing thyroid diseases.
- Biopsy: When the endocrinologist finds a nodule or lump within your thyroid, he or she will suggest taking a biopsy test. The test involves taking some samples of the nodule’s tissue to investigate whether it is benign or cancerous.
If you are diagnosed with one of the aforementioned thyroid diseases, you should know they can be treated and controlled safely and easily. You can consult with our healthcare team for free to learn more about your condition.
How is thyroidectomy performed?
Thyroidectomy surgery is performed while the patient is under general anesthesia. Your vital signs will also be monitored using several devices that are attached to you.
The first step of thyroid removal surgery is making a horizontal incision on the lower center of your neck where the thyroid is located. Through this incision, the surgeon can remove all or parts of the thyroid along with some surrounding nodules (if thyroid cancer is the reason for thyroidectomy).
Finally, the incision area will be sewn shut using sutures. In some cases, a draining tube might be inserted to drain the excess fluid. The duration of the surgery can be between 1 to 3 hours, depending on the approach the surgeon takes.
Types of thyroidectomy
Thyroidectomy procedure can be performed using several approaches:
Also known as hemithyroidectomy, this method involves removing a part of the thyroid, including the nodules. It is done through a small incision that is big enough to extract the diseased section of the thyroid. It might also involve removing some surrounding tissues that are possibly cancerous.
The surgery is usually performed to effectively treat mild thyroid cancer. It can also be carried out as part of the diagnosis measures the medical team takes to figure out whether the nodules are benign or malignant. If the removed section proves to be malignant, total thyroidectomy will be required after the surgery; in that case, the surgery is known as a completion thyroidectomy.
Thyroid lobectomy surgery has little risk of hypothyroidism after the surgery. As a result, the patient is rarely required to take thyroid medications for the rest of their life.
Thyroid removal surgery using this approach entails removing all or nearly all of the thyroid gland. The surgeon makes an incision in the area and removes the diseased sections through the incision. The diseased part of the thyroid can either occur as a result of a benign condition such as goiter or be cancerous.
As the surgeon leaves a small amount of thyroid tissue (if any) behind, the body won’t receive the hormones it used to receive from thyroid. Therefore, the patient needs to be on life-long thyroid hormone medications after the surgery.
In traditional thyroid removal surgery, the surgeon makes a four- to five-inch incision in the neck and performs the surgery through it. The recovery after traditional surgery can take 1 to 2 weeks.
Transoral (scarless) thyroidectomy
The more recent approach to removing the thyroid is known as a transoral thyroidectomy. It is performed through small incisions inside the mouth. As a result, no visible scars will be left after the surgery. It is an excellent option for those who are concerned about the appearance of scars after thyroidectomy. Consequently, the postoperative complications will be limited and the recovery will be shorter than with the traditional, open approach.
Endoscopic thyroid surgery is a minimally invasive method of thyroidectomy. It involves making small one-inch-long incisions (usually on the chest area). Then, the surgeon can operate on the thyroid using endoscopic tools which include a small camera. The surgery may or may not require putting the patient under general anesthesia. The risk of complications is lowe and the recovery is often shorter than with traditional thyroid surgery.
Thyroidectomy cost in Iran
The cost of thyroidectomy in Iran falls somewhere between $800 and $3000. The low cost of thyroid surgery in Iran is more perceptible if it is juxtaposed with that in other countries where the same quality of care is offered. In the US, for instance, thyroidectomy surgery is offered at $17000. That is, international patients can receive the same quality of treatment by paying 80% less.
What does thyroidectomy in Iran entail?
As much as the cost of thyroidectomy in Iran is exceedingly low, doctors and hospitals in Iran do not compromise the safety and the quality of medical services offered to patients. Iran is worldly renowned for its ENT treatments, be it a cosmetic surgery or a medical one. Here is what you should expect by choosing Iran as your destination to receive thyroid removal surgery.
By opting for thyroid surgery in Iran you can ensure that top-notch surgeons will be in charge of the procedure. Also, with excellent hospitals geared for international patients, you will know that a fully-prepared healthcare team will be at your assistant during and after the surgery.
Traveling abroad to receive treatment is a daunting idea in itself. When the treatment is a surgical procedure with its inherent risks, your worries and concerns are absolutely legitimate. You deserve to be free of these worries and be able to focus on your procedure alone. That’s why it is a good idea to leave it to a medical tourism company.
Medical tourism facilitators play a vital role in facilitating the process of receiving healthcare in other countries. AriaMedTour is the leading medical tourism facilitation company in Iran, offering patients an array of services in terms of visa acquisition, flight booking, accommodations, etc. The company is also staffed with doctor’s assistants who provide the candidates with whatever medical consultation they need.
Thyroidectomy recovery and aftercare
Thyroidectomy recovery is relatively easy and short. Based on your condition and the type of procedure you have gone through, you may or may not be required to stay overnight in the hospital. You can go back to your country within 7 to 10 days after the surgery.
As there are various approaches to thyroid removal surgery, your recovery dos and don’ts might differ based on your case. Some aftercare steps, however, might be recommended to you after the thyroidectomy surgery regardless of your condition, including the following:
- You can get back to your routine activities immediately after you are discharged from the hospital. Strenuous activities, however, should be limited for at least two weeks postoperatively.
- Keep the incision area dry and clean. Bathing, showering or hair washing should be done carefully, especially while the sutures are still on.
- You are unlikely to experience pain or discomfort during the recovery. In the rare event of pain, you can take pain medications to minimize it.
- In terms of your diet after the surgery, there are no restrictions. But you may prefer soft foods and liquids for a few days after the surgery as you might experience a sore throat while swallowing.
- Avoid or reduce smoking to promote healing and optimal recovery.
Thyroidectomy and new medications
Thyroid removal surgery, whether it is total or parathyroidectomy, results in a decrease in the level of thyroid hormones, calcium, and vitamin D. As a result, you will be instructed to use supplements and life-long hormone medications.
Thyroid removal surgery and hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism is an inevitable side effect of total thyroidectomy and (sometimes) thyroid lobectomy. Following the condition, your thyroid hormone level will fall dramatically. To bring your hormone levels into balance, your doctor will prescribe hormone medications. You will be instructed to implement these medications into your daily routine as you must use them for the rest of your life.
Thyroidectomy and calcium deficiency
Although rare, it is possible for the patient to experience calcium deficiency following thyroidectomy. The symptoms of calcium deficiency or hypocalcemia include muscle weakness, numbness, and tingling in your hands, legs, and around your mouth. If this occurs, the doctor will prescribe supplements to make up for calcium deficiency. Vitamin D might also be prescribed to promote your body’s calcium absorption. According to this study, about 75% of those suffering from calcium deficiency after thyroid removal surgery will recover within a year.