Nothing Showing After Thyroid Surgery: September 21, 2012

Quite literally a pain in the neck, millions of Americans suffer from thyroid problems. Abnormalities in this butterfly shaped gland in the neck can range from discomfort to cancer.

“There are two components with thyroid surgery.  One is a question of a cancer.  The other question, the other issue is enlargement of the gland.  When the gland gets larger and larger, sometimes you can’t swallow, have trouble breathing,” says Dr. Jacob Goldberger, a general surgeon on Lee Memorial Health System’s medical staff.

When a growth in the thyroid is cancerous, the entire gland is most often removed. It used to be major surgery leaving behind a large, unattractive incision across the neck. 

“Doing surgery to the abdominal cavity or the legs, the neck is a very, very important anatomical mark for most people.  So they don’t, feel comfortable with any encroachment of the neck,” says Dr. Goldberger.

The neck is valuable real estate, and a big scar is a real concern for many people especially when they want to be comfortable putting their ‘best face’ forward.

“What’s reassuring is that we’ve developed techniques over years, that we can access to get into the thyroid with small incision, non-disfiguring incision; at the end of three or four months that you can’t even tell you had surgery,” says Dr. Goldberger.

People heal differently so some scars will be more visible than others. But an experienced surgeon operating through smaller incisions can go a long way in helping you save face.

“Particularly in people who have nice little creases and that, the patient is reassured that he will not walk around with a very deforming, ugly scar on the neck,” says Dr. Goldberger.