What Can Go Wrong? Why You Need a Thyroid Cancer Surgeon Doing Your Thyroid Surgery for Cancer Lymph Nodes.
Rohet al AnnSurg 2007 Cheah et al World J. Surgery 2002
Potential Injuries (up to 50% risk)
Greater auricular nerve
Spinal accessory nerve
Thoracic duct (13% chyle leak)
Internal jugular vein
11% chronic neck pain/numbness
Double the risk of hypoparathyroidism
Comment: The decision to use a surgeon with a small volume of thyroidectomy and modified radical neck dissections put you at high risk for complications. Take the time to research and find a thyroid cancer surgeon with high volume of thyroid and neck surgeries to get the lowest complication rates. It is worth the trip to see Gary Clayman in Tampa,Julie Sosa at Duke or other specialists at Mayo,MD Anderson and Sloan Kettering before your first surgery for thyroid cancer.
Remember, your local primary may refer you to his local surgeon who will tell you he has done “many thyroid surgeries” in his career, but not how many he or she is doing now. Also remember that you have a high risk for the second neck surgery if a detailed Endocrine neck ultrasound is not done BEFORE the first surgery to evaluate the lymph nodes. Biopsy positive lymph nodes will change the first surgery to thyroidectomy plus a neck dissection.
Richard Guttler MD,FACE,ECNU