Call us directly: 512-491-0017

12319 North Mopac Expressway, Building C, Suite 260, Austin, TX 78758 View Location

Why do patients need thyroid or parathyroid surgery?

Some people will have symptoms when it comes to thyroid nodules, but many people will not. The reasons Dr. Kroeker performs thyroid surgery are as follows: thyroid cancer, nodules that are suspicious for cancer, nodules (multiple or single) in the thyroid that are causing compressive symptoms, and hyperthyroidism.

Your thyroid is intimately associated with the trachea and esophagus, as it is located directly on top of these structures. Compressive symptoms are caused by the thyroid “pushing” on the esophagus or trachea, which narrows the lumen. Patients may have dysphagia, which is when a patient has difficulty swallowing food or pills. Patients may also experience a choking sensation or shortness of breath when they lie down flat. Or the patient might have a hard time breathing while working out because those nodules can compress the trachea, narrowing the windpipe.

These compressive symptoms can also affect your recurrent laryngeal nerve, which innervates your vocal cords. If a patient has a large multinodular goiter that is compressing a nerve, a patient might have voice changes or hoarseness.

Patients who notice symptoms usually have larger thyroid nodules that they can feel or they are having any of the above compressive symptoms—food getting stuck at the upper level of the neck, problems breathing, or voice changes.

If a patient has metastatic cancer, a patient could find a lymph node further out in the lateral neck. But many patients never know or experience any of these symptoms prior to diagnosis. A lot of nodules are found incidentally on ultrasounds for other reasons.