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Question
Posted by: Very very confused | 2008/07/08

Thyroid

I have been hyperthyroid since 1991 (I am now 34 years old)
 
I'm feeling very confused at the moment as to what I should do. I have had 2 thyroidectomies (1992 and 1994) on my right side and there is on 0.5/8's of my thyroid left, however I have been struggling with my thyroid ever since (the left hand side)
 
For the past 3 years now, everytime I get bronchitis or pnemonia gland swells up to such an extent that I sometimes can't breathe. My latest stint now in hospital was last week with acute bronchitis - my TSH counts are a little hyper but not by much however, they did a thyroid scan and it revealed that that gland is excessively swollen (I think 25mm x 15mm) My GP referred me to a surgeon and he took one look at it and wants to remove the gland. I have been on and off Neo-Mercazole for the past 3 years but everytime the doctor takes me off, it takes 3 months then I struggle again. I did ask the surgeon about radioactive iodine and he said that he doesn't really want to go that route from what I understand it destroys the hormone and not the gland - am I thinking right?
 
He wants to operate on 19 July, but surely this is impossible with the acute bronchitis that I have just had?
 
Please please please can you assist me in making the best decision is possible?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberDoc

Dear Very Very confused
It sounds like you get a kind of thyroiditis every time you develop an infection - surgery is usually indicated if the swollen gland causes pressure on other structures. Radioactive treament may not destroy the whole gland, as it usually only slows down the thyroid hormone producing cells. You are always entitled to get a second opinion too.
Ask your GP to re-evaluate you a day or so before the operation is scheduled to ensure that you have in fact recovered enough to be able to get anaesthetic, if not , postpone the operation.
Will be thinking of you.
Dr Bets

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