Benign Thyroid Diseases
Dr. Konstantinidis MD, PhD, FACS - General Surgeon & Director of Bariatric, Laparoscopic & Robotic Surgery of Athens Medical Center.
Benign thyroid diseases, such as multinodular goiter, and hyperthyroidism, involve changes in the thyroid cells that are not cancerous.
Often, however, they carry the risk of developing malignancy and therefore their onset is treated by surgical removal of the entire or part of the thyroid gland (total or partial thyroidectomy).
In recent years, thyroidectomy is performed with minimally invasive methods and especially with the use of surgical robots.
While ensuring optimal oncological results, robotic surgery minimizes complications from surgery and offers the best cosmetic result, with no visible scar (which is one of the disadvantages of conventional thyroidectomy, especially in young women).
Dr. Konstantinidis and his Surgical Team have extensive experience and specialization in the treatment of benign thyroid diseases, having performed a great number of thyroidectomies.
What is a Thyroid Nodule?
Benign thyroid nodules are abnormal growths or lumps in the thyroid.
They usually do not cause any symptoms but are detected by chance during a regular medical examination.
Sometimes they are old enough to be visible and make it difficult for the patient to swallow or even breathe.
Most thyroid nodules are benign, but a small number of them contain cancer cells. That is why they are usually tested by obtaining a tissue sample.
What is Multinodular Goiter?
Goiter is an abnormal enlargement of the thyroid gland.
A large goiter can cause coughing, hoarseness or difficulty breathing.
The most common cause of goiter is due to the presence of many thyroid nodules.
This condition is called multinodular goiter, distinguished in toxic multinodular goiter, in which the thyroid gland produces excessive thyroxine and causes hyperthyroidism, and non-toxic, where thyroxine production remains at normal levels.
Goiter can also be the result of infections, certain medications, pregnancy or eating habits.
Tests used to diagnose goiter include:
- blood tests
- cervical ultrasound
- fine needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy (on suspicion of cancer)
- computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the cervix (on suspicion of cancer)
What is Hyperthyroidism?
Hyperthyroidism refers to the excessive production of thyroid hormone by the thyroid gland.
It can be caused by Graves’ disease (an autoimmune thyroid disease), thyroid nodules, thyroiditis, goiter or by too much iodine in the diet.
Hyperthyroidism can cause nervousness, sleep problems, increased appetite, weight loss, hot flashes, frequent bowel movements and a fast or irregular heartbeat.
The diagnosis is provided through blood tests to check thyroid function, as well as iodine tests.
How are Benign Thyroid Diseases treated?
The treatment of benign thyroid disease includes conservative treatment, through the administration of drugs, and, when necessary, surgical removal of part or the entire thyroid gland, with a procedure called thyroidectomy.
When should a thyroidectomy be performed?
Thyroidectomy is indicated in the following conditions and cases:
- suspected malignancy in a nodule due to an increase in its dimensions or other morphological features usually on cervical ultrasound
- presence of a nodule or goiter that causes local symptoms – compression of the trachea, difficulty swallowing
- toxic multinodular goiter
The extent of thyroidectomy is determined by the reason behind the surgery. For example, a nodule confined to one side of the thyroid can be treated with a partial thyroidectomy or removal of a lobe (lobectomy).
If the swelling covers the entire gland or there is concern about the possible development of thyroid cancer, then total thyroidectomy is indicated.
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Why Dr. Konstantinidis?
Dr. Konstantinidis and his Surgical Team have extensive experience in treating all thyroid diseases, having performed a great number of thyroidectomy procedures with great success.
Dr. Konstantinidis collaborates with physicians of all related specialties, such as Anesthesiologists, Endocrinologists, Oncologists and Radiologists, who are all pioneering scientists and are distinguished for their medical work.