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Total Thyroidectomy & a General Surgeon???

swt_reyes
Posts: 28
Joined: Nov 2010

I found out that the Dr. that is supposed to do my surgery is a General Surgeon. Is this ok? I thought I was seeing an Oncologist, but it turns out I live in a small town and Dr. Nichols is the best surgeon in this area. If I go to an Oncologist I will travel. What are anyones thoughts on this matter???

Thank you all & may the lord watch over you all & your families!

Happy Hollidays & Merry New Years!

~Christy~

alapah's picture
alapah
Posts: 258
Joined: Oct 2009

How many thyroidectomies does that general surgeon do annually? many people will tell u to get a specialist which is generally good advice. My TT was done by a general surgeon who happens to do most of the TTs in my town. You want someone well versed who will not damage vocsl cord nerves, will save and protect your parathyroids and remove as much thyroid tissue as possible. My general surgeon did an excellent job. Ask your surgeon and others about his/her experience.
Best to you.
Btw i dont think many oncologists peform surgery

swt_reyes
Posts: 28
Joined: Nov 2010

What kind of surgeon specializes in this surgery???

Caregiver1963's picture
Caregiver1963
Posts: 46
Joined: Jan 2010

I too had my TT done by a general surgeon- at a large well known medical center. In fact this general surgeon does only thyroid and parathyroid surgery. I understand that otolaryngologists in some hospitals do this surgery as well. Oncologists don't do surgery.
Good luck!

sunnyaz
Posts: 582
Joined: Oct 2010

True that a General Surgeon does a lot of Thyroidectomies as well as ENT's (Ear, Nose and Throat AKA: Otolaryngologists). The more they do the better they are. My ENT did a great job on my TT however my Lymphectomy was a different story. When he went back in the second time after metastasis to the Lymph nodes, he did not know enough about "CANCER" to remove the node that was targeted, biopsied and pinpointed for removal in section 6 of the neck. This is the first section for metastasis. He went to sections 3, 4 and 5. Found three out of thirty four nodes and totally missed the largest targeted node. I now have a highly specialized Oncologist/Endocrinologist who is doing my third surgery a week from today (next Friday the 17th). Maybe I just got really lucky but I don't think so, since I do know a little about medicine. I work in the field forty plus hours per week in direct contact with patients and lots of medical providers in referral situations. I hope more people can get Oncologist/Endocrinologists that also do surgeries.

nasher
Posts: 507
Joined: Apr 2010

an oncologist would not do surgery

mine was done with an ENT surgeon who did most of the thyroidectomys for the navy (being navy myself) there were 2 general surgeons there as well.

A while ago my wife went into a surgery with 3 specialists that did a 8+ hour surgery messed it up didn't notice there mistake and a general surgeon is the one who had to fix the mistake and saved her life.

the question to ask Dr. Nichols is how many thyroidectomy's he has done and get all the answers. as stated in the previous paragraph I would trust a general surgeon since they are focused on your entire health and are probably better at finding other problems and specialists.

sunnyaz
Posts: 582
Joined: Oct 2010

I have an Oncologist Surgeon who specializes in Endocrinology. So, that statement that an Oncologist would not do surgery is not true. There are lots of highly specialized doctors. I got really lucky with my new surgeon being so highly specialized. Yes, a general surgeon is a great choice, however a general surgeon typically wouldn't know to look in section 6 of the next before section 3, 4 and 5. That is why an Oncologist should be involved in Consulting with the General surgeon.

swt_reyes
Posts: 28
Joined: Nov 2010

Julie,
I have done lots and lots of research and to my finding I found the best surgeon to do any tumor/cancer surgery is an Oncologist! My Endo does not do surgery so he is sending me to me with a general surgeon and it just scares because I know that someone who specializes in cancer/tumors would be (hopefully) better knowledgeable as to what & how well the surgery goes. I would like to only have to go through this surgery once! I know that if I go to an Oncologist who specializes in this matter they maybe would be able to get what they needed all the first time around! I have not met an Oncologist in the process and unless I get another opinion which I have been considering, then an Oncologist will not part of my process with this mess.

Seeing as I have one huge nodule that's preventing normal breathing and several small nodules does this make my risk for cancer higher? I think it does but it seems like the Dr.'s have just been candy coating things to me, probably cause they realize how anxious and freaked out I can get. Regardless of that I deserve to be well informed! Also they are mass tissue not fluid filled, which I know also makes my chances of cancer higher =/

I feel like this has been the longest month I have ever endured in a long time. I am ready to have the surgery and be done with it but I know that I will be dealing with this the rest of my life.

One more question! How long does a person typically stay in the hospital after a total thyroidectomy?

Thanks everyone for the great information!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS & MANY BLESSING TO YOU & YOUR FAMILIES!!!

~Christy~

sunnyaz
Posts: 582
Joined: Oct 2010

Hi Christy,
I agree but it may be difficult to find someone in your area that is so highly specialized. I would trust your General Surgeon. They do these types of surgery every day and are very good at it. As long as they are going to take the whole thyroid you will be okay and shouldn't need other surgeries. Did you know that 90% of Thyroid Nodules are non-cancerous? If it is cancer and if a sonogram has revealed suspicious Lymph nodes, they need to be removed also. Soon after your Thyroidectomy, get the RAI to kill any existing Thyroid cells. This will drastically reduce any chances of recurrence. And be sure to have them test your tissue after surgery to see if you have the B-RAF Mutation Gene if you are positive for any of the types of Thyroid cancer. They will type (if it is cancer) in the lab after removal. Most Thyroid cancer patients may never need an Onocologist. But if yours turns out to be cancer, ask your Endocrinologist to refer you to the best possible Oncologist close to you if you are unable to travel. I doubt that they are candy coating anything. They can only tell you what they know right now. Try not to worry too much. See if your doctor can prescribe something for anxiety such as Xanax or Diazepam (Vallium). Diazepam is how I am able to sleep at night and it keeps me calm. The half life is forty eight hours so it helps me sleep and helps me from worrying about my cancer throughout the day. Mostly wears off at night so I can function and think during the day while I am working and getting through daily life.

The typical hospital stay is overnight. If they remove your Thyroid, they will want to make sure your Parathyroids (you have four-two on each side of your neck) are producing calcium. Sometimes they can go into a state of shock so to speak after the Thyroidectomy. I did fine and didn't have any problems with calcium production so I was let go the next day with pain killers to recover at home.

My Oncologist/Endocrinologist/Surgeon was referred to me by my regular Endocrinologist after the ENT screwed up the second surgery. He wouldn't let me go back to him again. I am very fortunate to have the UMC Cancer Center so close to me. It's only about an hour away. Again, I would ask your Endocrinologist or your PCP for a referral if you will need one. I didn't think I would ever need and Oncologist, but with the second recurrence and my B-RAF he thought this was a necessary step. I will check boards tomorrow. If you need to email me privately, you are welcome to do that through the email on this site as well. I didn't know if you knew about that option.

Have a great weekend!
Julie

swt_reyes
Posts: 28
Joined: Nov 2010

Julie,
How did you go about finding/searching for your new Doctor? I have been looking online for ratings & also through my insurance company directory.

Thanks again,
~Christy~

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