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Mar 31

What type of instruments do you use for thyroid surgery and how will they affect me cosmetically?

Dr. Kroeker uses instruments that are atraumatic, meaning they are designed to not produce injury or damage.

A good thyroid or parathyroid surgeon will always approach surgery with a delicate touch. Dr. Kroeker is very careful to be gentle on the skin for exposure and retraction. Her entire team is careful to protect the skin in the operating room around the area of incision.

Mar 30

What is the difference between invasive surgery and minimally invasive surgery?

Any surgery where you make as small of an incision as possible to do a proper surgery is minimally invasive surgery. Different people will define minimally invasive surgery in different ways, but typically it refers to making an incision as small as possible while still being able to perform a safe surgery.

There are some times—for example parathyroid surgery—where Dr. Kroeker has localized a parathyroid adenoma, or noncancerous (benign) tumor of the parathyroid glands, on one side of the neck. She will make a very small incision on one side of the neck and then use tiny little retractors to get in and find the parathyroid gland. The key is always to perform a safe surgery, first and foremost.

Dr. Kroeker will always make sure that her incision allows her the proper space to not injure a nerve, not get into bleeding, and not have any complications during surgery.

Minimally invasive surgery is making the smallest incision possible for the best cosmetic result, but still doing a safe surgery, which is by far the most important consideration.

Mar 29

Do you ever suggest use of different thyroid hormone replacement drug options to find what works best?

No, Dr. Kroeker typically leaves thyroid hormone replacement drug options to an endocrinologist, given that is their specialty.

There are many options (including holistic) when it comes to thyroid hormone replacements. The most common thyroid hormone replacement is T4, which is Synthroid, and that is what Dr. Kroeker will most often use after surgery.

If a patient tells Dr. Kroeker that they have a strong interest in using a different kind of thyroid hormone replacement, Dr. Kroeker will typically refer them back to their endocrinologist to better understand all of the details of the replacement option and how to properly regulate it.

There are many options when it comes to thyroid hormone replacement and different things work well for different people. This is why Dr. Kroeker always suggests patients to sit down and discuss these options with their endocrinologist, or whoever will be monitoring their hormone levels.

Mar 27

Do you investigate not only blood work, but also hypothyroidism symptoms, medical history, family history, and physical signs?

Dr. Kroeker will always ask patients about hypothyroidism symptoms, medical history, family history, and physical signs to be as thorough in her process as she can be. She will be checking a patient’s thyroid hormones, regardless, because a patient has come to her with a thyroid nodule.

Any patient with a thyroid nodule, per the American Thyroid Association recommendations, needs to have their thyroid levels drawn.

In addition to checking the thyroid levels, Dr. Kroeker will always ask about symptoms of both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, whether a patient has a family history of thyroid cancer, and if there a history of hyper- or hypothyroidism.

Dr. Kroeker will always refer to an endocrinologist if something falls outside of the scope of her practice.