Endocrine Surgery

What is Endocrine Surgery?

Endocrine surgery deals with the treatment of diseases affecting the organs in charge of producing hormones, mainly the thyroid gland, the paratoid glands and the adrenal gland.

  • Thyroid gland: this gland is divided into two lobes connected by an isthmus, being located in the anterior part of the neck, in front of the trachea.
  • Parathyroid glands: they are located next to the thyroid gland, in a posterior disposition and right next to each of the upper and lower poles of each side. These glands secrete parathyroid hormones that are responsible for regulating calcium metabolism in the blood.
  • Adrenal gland: they are located on top of the kidneys and are responsible for producing adrenaline, corticoids, aldosterone and part of the sex hormones, both male and female.

Why is it performed?

There are different types of endocrine surgery, depending on the organ that is affected and the type of pathology.

In the case of the thyroid glands, it can happen that the glands increase in size, it is a very frequent problem called goiter. Not in all cases it is necessary to operate it, but it can happen that the thyroid glands begin to compress the neighboring structures and there are difficulties in swallowing, changes in the voice, etc. The thyroid glands can also suffer from other pathologies such as hyperthyroidism (excess of thyroid hormone), hypothyroidism (decrease or definitive cessation of thyroid hormone), or thyroid cancer.

As for the parathyroid glands, various pathologies related to hyperparathyroidism may occur, including primary hyperparathyroidism, defined as excess PTH production leading to mobilization of calcium from the bones into the blood.

A high level of secretion by the adrenal glands can produce different types of pathology, depending on the hormone secreted in excess. We are talking about Cushing’s syndrome (excess of glucocorticoids), Conn’s syndrome (with high levels of aldosterone), and virilization syndrome (excess of sex steroids), among others.

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What does it consist of?

There are different types of operations depending on the patient’s condition and the state of the disease. In most cases, the gland affected by the disease is removed. This also depends on the type of alteration in the glands, since surgery may vary according to one pathology or another.

Preparation for endocrine surgery

Before the intervention it is mandatory to perform the basic preoperative tests, which include electrocardiogram, chest X-ray, blood analysis and other more complex complementary studies depending on the surgery to be performed. Unless otherwise indicated by the surgeon, patients should be admitted fasting, without having ingested any type of liquid or food during the 8 hours prior to surgery.

Care after surgery

Hygiene should be kept to a minimum during the first week. A sequential washing can be performed every 2 days, counting also with the application of antiseptic in the operated area, previously removing the protective dressing that will have peeled off during the shower. After the first week, you can start washing the wound daily with water and neutral soap.

Food should be maintained at the same levels as in the hospital, i.e. at least three meals a day. It is important to keep the level of hydration high and not to make any diet that may affect the body.

The limitations in terms of mobility are slight, although there may be pain or stiffness in the operated area. It is also important to maintain absolute rest during the first few days and to gradually incorporate activities, following the surgeon’s instructions.