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House Call: Thyroid surgery

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Surgery is a treatment option for thyroid disorders.

More: PDF: Thyroid Disorders Information Sheet

The main reasons a patient may need thyroid surgery are they have thyroid nodules with a rick of malignancy, a goiter (enlarged thyroid) or nodules that continue to increase in size causing compressive symptoms, or hyperthyroidism usually due to a nodule or Graves’ disease. 

The two main procedures for thyroid surgery are a thyroid lobectomy and total thyroidectomy.  In a thyroid lobectomy, the half of the gland that has the nodule is removed. In a total thyroidectomy, the entire gland is removed.  If cancer is suspected, additional lymph nodes may be removed to see if the malignancy has spread. 

Thyroid surgery has a low risk of complications and involves an extremely short hospital stay in which patients come in the day of surgery, and usually leave the next morning.  The recovery period is short, with most patients returning to normal activities within a week.  The pain level is also low, with many patients getting off their pain medication within a couple of days. 

Unfortunately, thyroid disease and cancer are common conditions, yet highly curable if detected early.  Cone Health has an exceptional network of primary care physicians, endocrinologists, surgeons and other related healthcare providers dedicated to properly diagnosing and treating individuals in the community with thyroid conditions.

Physician Background:

Dr. Todd Gerkin is a general surgeon at Central Carolina Surgery and a member of the Cone Health medical staff.  He is a 1987 graduate of University of Virginia School of Medicine.  Dr. Gerkin completed his general surgery residency at the University of Michigan Hospitals in 1993. He is Board Certified by the American Board of Surgery and is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.  Dr. Gerkin maintains a broad general surgery practice with a specialty interest in endocrine surgery.