Hyperthyroidism is a disorder wherein the thyroid produces more thyroid hormones than the body needs. Treatment options include medical and surgical options including but not limited to: anti-thyroid drugs, radioactive iodine and surgical removal of the thyroid. Hyperthyroidism is usually detected during routine blood tests.
In many patients hyperthyroidism is asymptomatic, meaning there are no clear signs that you may have the disorder. However, when symptoms do present themselves, it’s because of an excess amount of thyroid hormone in your system, and as a result your metabolism and sympathetic nervous system may be “sped up” resulting in:
- Increased perspiration
- Increased heart rate
- Difficulty Sleeping
- Hand tremors
- Weight loss
- For women, a change in menstrual cycle schedule
There are three main ways to treat hyperthyroidism:
- Medication: Initially, hyperthyroidism will attempt to be treated medically in most cases using thyrostatics medication (antithyroid drugs) designed to limit the amount of thyroid hormone produced.
- Radioactive Iodine Ablation: Patient takes a pill of iodine that has radioactive properties associated with it. The iodine travels through the blood to the thyroid and the radioactivity destroys the thyroid tissue, ideally producing the result that the thyroid will not make an excess of thyroid hormone following that therapy.
- Surgery: If medical treatment fails, or if an enlarged thyroid is present and it is compressing neck structures, surgery is recommended to remove part or the entire thyroid (thyroidectomy). Removal of part of the thyroid is recommended when a toxic thyroid nodule may be producing too much hormone.
Most surgeries are done via minimal access thyroid surgery. Whereas the traditional method required a 6-8” incision across the neck and a several night stay in the hospital, minimal access surgery requires a 1.5-2” surgery with patients going home the day of surgery or the following day. Many patients are off of pain medicine by the first or second postoperative day and are back to their regular diet the day of or the morning after surgery. There is no wound care and patients can shower the day of surgery.