The thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland overlying the voice box and the windpipe. Adjacent to the thyroid are the parathyroid glands which control the bodys calcium and the recurrent laryngeal nerves that control the voice box muscles. The thyroid is removed while preserving the recurrent laryngeal nerves and the parathyroids.
The surgery is performed under general anesthesia and usually takes an hour for a thyroid lobectomy (removing one half of the thyroid gland) and one and a half hours for a total thyroidectomy.
Minimally invasive video assisted thyroidectomy:
Conventional open thyroidectomies result in neck scars 6-8 cm long.
At Loma Linda University, head and neck surgeons Dr. Alfred Simental and Dr. Paul Kim perform video assisted minimally invasive thyroidectomies with incisions as small as 1.5 cm.
With the assistance of magnified endoscopic cameras, dissection through mini incisions is safe, allowing early identification of the recurrent laryngeal nerve, blood vessels and parathyroids. The thyroid is dissected away from the neck blood vessels using an ultrasonic scalpel and other commonly used laparoscopic instruments.
Most patients tolerate the procedure well with minimal blood loss that allows the patient to go home the next day.