Choosing a surgeon to handle your operation can be overwhelming given that there are a lot of qualified medical professionals around. But, qualified does not always mean “experienced.” And when it comes to your thyroid surgery, you would want to go with a surgeon that has years of experience in successfully handling this type of operation. You can talk to an expert surgeon about thyroid surgery at Thomas Ho Surgery.

Thyroid surgery is not without risks and complications. Here are some:

Overdose or sensitivity anaesthesia. The right dosage of anaesthesia is a great help during an operation as this will ease a patient’s discomfort. A negative implication of the use of anaesthesia is when it is given at a wrong dosage, which may be fatal. The body also may have adverse reactions to this substance.

Chyle fistula. A wrong lateral dissection of the neck can end up damaging the thoracic duct, which results to a condition called chyle fistula. This injury can have a crucial effect on the body’s ability to heal and absorb nutrients.

Hematoma. There are times when the wound in the neck where the incision was made during the operation does not heal completely. This can result to the continuous bleeding of the tissues or a hematoma. Failure to address this condition may lead to a more critical health condition.

Hypocalcemia. Hypocalcemia happens when the body produces very low levels of calcium in the plasma. The role of calcium in the body is crucial as it serves as a conductor of electricity in the body. Likewise, calcium is needed by the muscles in order to move and by the bones to keep it strong and aid healing. The body’s nervous system also requires calcium to allow the brain to properly disseminate messages all throughout the body. Hypocalcemia can occur when the parathyroid glands are damaged during your thyroid surgery.

Hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is a condition that occurs as a result of having a large part or the whole of the thyroid gland removed from the body. Without a proper functioning thyroid, the body will lack the hormones that are needed to control metabolism as well as the heart rate. There are several symptoms of hypothyroidism, including: constipation, depression, dry skin, fatigue, elevated blood cholesterol, slowed heart rate, weight gain, etc.

Injury to the Laryngeal Nerve. The symptom that usually gives away this kind of damage to the laryngeal nerve is a hoarse voice.  A patient’s voice should return back to its normal state about 6 months following the thyroid operation. When this does not happen and the voice persists to be raspy, an ENT doctor should be consulted immediately.

Tracheal Necrosis. While considered a rare occurrence, tracheal necrosis can be life-threatening as this condition can result to leak air with subcutaneous emphysema.

Choosing the right thyroid surgeon

The fate of your recovery following a thyroid surgery highly lies in your surgeon’s competency in performing the operation. That is why choosing the right thyroid surgeon is critical. Here are some tips that you can do to find a credible surgeon.

  1. Ask for referrals. You can ask for referrals from your GP, an endocrinologist, or other surgeons if they have a recommended surgeon. Some people within your close circle of family and friends may also have a doctor in mind that is an expert in handling this type of surgery, especially when they or someone that they know of have undergone the same procedure.
  2. Do a background check. If you already have a list of prospective surgeons, you can do a quick search about their medical and surgical practice on the internet. Be sure that your chosen medical practitioner has the right knowledge, training, and ample experience to carry out your surgery. Your doctor should, of course, also be board certified. You can also read about patient reviews.
  3. Check if they are affiliated with your chosen hospital. Some patients have their own choice of hospital where they would like their surgery to take place. Often times, the choice of hospital have to do with how easily it can be accessed from their homes. Doctors and surgeons may not be affiliated with all hospitals in Singapore, so it is best to check to be sure.
  4. Go in for an initial consultation. Having a face-to-face interaction with your doctor can give you an idea on how they are able to manage your case. You can also assess whether you are comfortable with the way the doctor communicates with you and if they are able to answer your questions in a way that you clearly understand. Some questions that you can ask during the appointment with your surgeon are:
  • Have you treated patients with the same condition that I have?
  • How many thyroid surgeries do you perform yearly?
  • Have your past patients encountered complications following their surgery? What were these complications?
  • How often do you encounter complications after doing thyroid surgery?
  • What are your best practices in order to avoid complications? Do you also have treatments in place in case they happen?
  1. Check your medical insurance.

Having a medical insurance can make a great difference when it comes to settling your medical bills as well as your doctor and surgeon’s professional fees. Check if your chosen surgeon is covered under your medical insurance plan.


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