What is the Thyroid, and What Does it do?

The function of the thyroid gland is to keep all parts of the body working at the right speed, neither too fast nor too slow. This enables the brain, heart, muscles, and other organs to function at a high efficiency. Surgical Associates offers a variety of thyroid treatments in Wausau, including medications, nonsurgical procedures, and surgery. 

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What Thyroid Conditions Require Surgical Intervention?

Some thyroid conditions that require surgery include overactive thyroid glands (hyperthyroidism), overactive parathyroid glands (hyperparathyroidism), enlarged thyroid glands (goiters), and cancerous and benign thyroid nodules (thyroid nodule surgery). Surgical Associates’ surgeons and staff are highly proficient in all procedures related to these conditions.

Preparing for Thyroid Surgery

The preparation will vary, depending on the surgery type. We will provide you with precise instructions tailored to your procedure.

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What are the Symptoms of a Thyroid Condition?

Thyroid conditions often do not present symptoms until they’ve reached an advanced stage, which means surgery often becomes the only viable treatment. The symptoms can include one or more of the following:

  • Fatigue: Feeling unusually tired or sluggish.
  • Weight Changes: Unexpected weight gain or loss without changes in diet or exercise.
  • Mood Swings: Experiencing irritability, anxiety, or depression.
  • Temperature Sensitivity: Feeling too cold or too hot compared to others.
  • Changes in Heart Rate: Noticeable increase or decrease in heart rate.
  • Swelling in the Neck: Presence of a goiter or swelling in the thyroid region.
  • Hair and Skin Changes: Dry skin, hair loss, or brittle nails.
  • Menstrual Irregularities: Changes in menstrual cycle, including frequency and intensity.
  • Constipation or Diarrhea: Persistent digestive issues.
  • Muscle Weakness or Aches: Unexplained muscle weakness or pain.
  • Cognitive Difficulties: Problems with memory or concentration.
  • Difficulty Sleeping: Insomnia or excessive sleeping.
  • Voice Changes: Hoarseness or change in voice tone.
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What is the Surgery Like?

Overnight stay

The need for an overnight hospital stay depends on the specific type of thyroid surgery you undergo. Your surgeon will inform you about what to expect regarding hospitalization.

Postoperative care

Our team will advise you on medication management, including any temporary discontinuation of specific drugs, dietary adjustments, and physical activity limitations to ensure a smooth and safe recovery.

After Your Surgery

Need For A Driver

A driver is necessary post-surgery, especially if you receive any form of anesthesia. Some patients experience mild physical distress even after minor procedures.

Work And Activity Restrictions

The duration of time off work and activity limitations will be based on the type of surgery. Our staff will guide you regarding the expected recovery period.

Driving Post-Surgery

Your ability to drive will depend on your pain levels and mobility, as well as the cessation of narcotic pain medications. Your surgeon will advise on when it is safe to resume driving.

Postoperative Restrictions

Depending on your surgery, you may have specific restrictions related to lifting, diet, or bathing. If you are taking narcotics or medications that impair driving, you will not be permitted to drive.

Customized Care Plan

Our hernia nurse navigator and care team will provide ongoing support and check-ins during your recovery, ensuring a smooth healing process.

Why Choose Surgical Associates for Thyroid Surgery?

Choosing Surgical Associates for your thyroid surgery in Wausau means entrusting your care to a team of experts committed to excellence. Our state-of-the-art surgical techniques, coupled with personalized care and a high patient satisfaction score, ensure you receive the best treatment and support throughout your surgical journey. For more information about thyroid surgery or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Brebrick or Dr. Olson, please contact Surgical Associates in Wausau. We are here to support you every step of the way, from pre-surgical preparations to postoperative care and recovery.

Your Partner in Thyroid Health

We will work closely with you to find the best solution. We consider you a partner in the process of improving your health. No patient is ever treated the same or with a one-size-fits-all mindset. Treatment of your thyroid condition will be tailored specifically to you, and we ensure our conversations are in easy-to-understand language rather than confusing you with medical terms only a doctor would understand.

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Thyroid Nodule Surgery in Wausau

When surgery is needed for the treatment of a thyroid condition, part or all of the thyroid gland will need to be removed. Following some surgeries for thyroid nodules, radioiodine ablation may be needed. This involves taking a pill or liquid dose of radioactive iodine to decrease the amount of thyroid hormone released. Often, removing nodules is a minimally invasive procedure, with less pain, scarring, and recovery time. Surgery usually takes between one and three hours. The healing process is usually quick, but you will likely need to spend a few hours in the recovery room. Depending on your surgery, you may be sent home, or you may need to stay overnight.

After Your Surgery, Your Recovery

  • Fluid may be collected during surgery by placement of a drain at the wound site.
  • Antibiotics may be required if you have a drain, and you will need to care for your incision as directed by your surgeon.
  • Calcium levels may be checked to see if the parathyroid glands were affected during surgery.
  • Take all medications as directed upon your arrival at home.
  • It is normal to experience a sore throat.
  • Lozenges or throat spray can ease the discomfort.
  • Avoid heavy lifting, strenuous exercise, and driving until these activities are cleared by your surgeon.
  • Most patients take one to two weeks off work to recover.

You see us for a follow-up visit two weeks after surgery. We want to make sure your wound is healing properly and will remove your stitches or drain if needed. Several weeks following the surgery, you will need a TSH test to determine if you will need to take thyroid hormone pills. Please note that if you experience numbness or tingling in the fingertips or mouth, muscle cramping or spasms, neck swelling, nausea or vomiting, trouble breathing, trouble swallowing, or an irregular heartbeat, call Surgical Associates immediately.

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Thyroid Providers

Thyroid Providers

The thyroid gland plays a crucial role in regulating metabolism, heart rate, and body temperature. Disorders of the thyroid can significantly impact a person’s health and quality of life.

patient leaving office
Thyroid Surgery

Thyroid Surgery

At Surgical Associates, we understand that undergoing thyroid surgery can be a significant event in your life.

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Thyroid Radiofrequency Ablation

Thyroid Radiofrequency Ablation

At Surgical Associates, we are proud to offer Thyroid Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) as an advanced, non-surgical treatment option for thyroid nodules.

Thyroid Surgery FAQ

Will my insurance cover my surgery?

What kind of prep will I need before my procedure?

Will I need to stay in the hospital overnight or can I go home the same day?

What about my medications? Will I need to stop any of them before surgery?

Will I need a driver?

How long will I be off work?

Will I have any restrictions after surgery?

Will I see my surgeon after surgery?

What if I have forms that need to be completed for my employer or disability company?

Will my insurance cover my surgery?

Call your insurance company and let them know that you are having surgery, what kind of surgery and the date of your surgery. They will give you a summary of your benefits. If your surgery is elective, preauthorization may need to be obtained and Surgical Associates will submit the required information for preauthorization. Surgery will not be scheduled until we know that we have that preauthorization. Whether or not surgery is elective or not, Surgical Associates will contact your insurance to make sure precertification has been obtained. Our friendly support staff is here to help you with this process.

What kind of prep will I need before my procedure?

This depends on the type of procedure you are having. Some procedures will require a bowel prep, while other procedures require just nothing to eat or drink after midnight. Some procedures require just showering with an antibacterial soap the night before and the morning of surgery. Your surgeon’s office will give you these instructions when your surgery is scheduled.

Will I need to stay in the hospital overnight or can I go home the same day?

This depends on the type of surgery you have. Your surgeon will advise you on what to expect in this regard.

What about my medications? Will I need to stop any of them before surgery?

Bring your medications to your appointment with you so we can confirm what medications you are taking and advise you on how to take each medication before and after surgery. Blood thinners, for example, may have to be stopped for a period of time prior to surgery. We will work with your other medical providers if you need to stop any medication.

Will I need a driver?

Yes. Most procedures we do require an anesthetic of some type. However, if you do not have an anesthetic, have someone come with you anyway. Some people get tense during their procedure and become shaky afterward, even after a minor procedure. We would rather you get home safely instead of taking any chances. After surgery, you will be sore and have some limited mobility. Once you are completely off of any narcotic pain medications and once you feel that you can quickly slam on the brake if you need to, you can drive. Your surgeon will advise you on what to expect for the timing of this.

How long will I be off work?

The amount of time off of work depends on the type of surgery that you have. Your surgeon and appropriate office staff will guide you on the expected time off.

Will I have any restrictions after surgery?

This depends on the type of surgery you have. You may have lifting restrictions for a short period of time, or eating restrictions, or shower/bathing restrictions. You will not be allowed to drive if you are taking any narcotics or medications that would inhibit driving safely.

Will I see my surgeon after surgery?

Yes. You will have a post-op appointment 1, 2 or 3 weeks after surgery so we can check your incisions and make sure your recovery is fast and uneventful.

What if I have forms that need to be completed for my employer or disability company?

Surgical Associates has specific staff who will take care of filling out those forms. Bring the forms with you to your appointment. Make sure you have filled out your portion of the forms and signed wherever you are required to before handing them in. Also, make sure your name and date of birth are on those forms and instructions on where to send the forms when they are completed.

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