Five Important Things Your Thyroid Surgeon Maybe Not Telling You

Every patient deserves to hear about these 5 things from their thyroid surgeon

Dr. Akira Miyauchi

Professor Akira Miyauchi (Figure 1) is President and COO of Kuma Hospital, Center of Excellence in Thyroid Care, Kobe, Japan. He is a Japanese endocrine surgeon, and a pioneer in active surveillance, and visionary in regard to treatment of thyroid cancer.  World renowned researcher, and lecturer. As the associate professor of the Department of Surgery, Kagawa Medical University, he proposed and initiated a clinical trial of active surveillance for low-risk papillary micro cancer in collaboration with Kuma Hospital in 1993. In 2001, he was appointed the President of Kuma Hospital. Since then, he has been keen on the study of evaluating treatments for papillary micro cancer, observation versus surgery.

During this episode, the following topics are discussed:

  1. Financial burden of surgery versus total cost of active surveillance over ten years.

    Stretching Exercises for Neck

  2. Setting patient expectations prior to FNA to manage anxiety
  3. When the laryngeal nerve is severed during thyroid surgery, it can and should be repaired, with proper surgeon skill and training.
  4. Rather than being stationery and immobile, patients should practice neck stretching exercise within 24 hours proceeding surgery.  There should be no fear about separating the incision.
  5. The most common question asked to Dr. Miyauchi by surgeons from around the world.

Total cost of surgery is 4.1x the cost compared to the cost of active surveillance.  In the U.S., the cost is higher.

Kuma Hospital in Kobe, Japan

By providing patient an active surveillance brochure prior to FNA, they are more open to not proceeding with surgery for small thyroid cancer management.

Patient voice restores to near normal when repair of laryngeal nerve is done correctly.  All surgeons should be executing this to perfection.

When doing next stretches one-day post surgery, patients report feeling much better and less pain, even one year after surgery.

Dr. Miyauchi and Philip James, on-location for episode 66

Protocol for delaying surgery depends on the patient’s age.  Older patients are less likely to require surgery.  75% of patients will not require surgery for their lifetime.

NOTES

Akira Miyauchi, MD

American Thyroid Association

35: Rethinking Thyroid Cancer ? When Saying No to Surgery Maybe Best for You with Dr. Allen Ho from Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles

21: Diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer and You Say No to Surgery with Dr. Louise Davies

50: Regarding Thyroid Cancer, Are You a Minimalist or a Maximalist? with Dr. Michael Tuttle from Sloan Kettering

PAPERS and RESEARCH

Estimation of the lifetime probability of disease progression of papillary microcarcinoma of the thyroid during active surveillance

Comparison of the costs of active surveillance and immediate surgery in the management of low-risk papillary microcarcinoma of the thyroid.

Incidences of Unfavorable Events in the Management of Low-Risk Papillary Microcarcinoma of the Thyroid by Active Surveillance Versus Immediate Surgery

TSH-suppressive doses of levothyroxine are required to achieve preoperative native serum triiodothyronine levels in patients who have undergone total thyroidectomy.

Stretching exercises to reduce symptoms of postoperative neck discomfort after thyroid surgery: prospective randomized study.

Improvement in phonation after reconstruction of the recurrent laryngeal nerve in patients with thyroid cancer invading the nerve.
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