A leading specialist surgeon for over 10 years

Thyroid Problems & Indications for Surgery

Surgery for disorders or swellings of the thyroid gland is a specialist procedure, which requires great care to avoid some potentially significant complications. Mark Tomlinson is a very experienced Thyroid surgeon, and has been performing such surgery in Lancaster for over 10years.

Thyroid surgery is usually considered for one or more of the following reasons:

  • if the thyroid gland is enlarged and causing symptoms due to pressure on surrounding structures in the neck. Symptoms such as pain or difficulty when swallowing; or noisy breathing or breathlessness due to compression of the airway.
  • if the thyroid gland is overactive, producing too much Thyroid hormone, which can be dangerous. This condition is called “thyrotoxicosis” or “hyperthyroidism” and can be associated with inflammation of the thyroid gland (thyroiditis), or an autoimmune condition (Graves’ Disease)
  • if there is concern that there may be a tumour or cancer within the thyroid gland.
  • if the voice is affected by the thyroid swelling pressing on the nerve(s) which supply the muscles of the voice box; and which thus move the vocal cords. Occasionally the vocal cord function is severely affected i.e. it does not move at all

Nodules & Cysts

It is common to find that when the thyroid gland is scanned, or if the neck is scanned for other reasons, it is noted that the Thyroid contains nodules (solid lumpy areas), or cysts (fluid-filled areas) within the gland. A generally lumpy gland is termed “multinodular”; a visible, enlarged thyroid swelling in the neck is also known as a “Goitre”. If nodules have any potentially suspicious features on ultrasound scanning of the gland, then a small cell sample is usually taken using a fine needle to check this further.  Cysts can have the fluid simply drained with a needle to relieve the pressure or discomfort.

Thyroid Surgery

At surgery usually either the whole of the thyroid gland is removed, or if the swelling affects just one side, half the gland may be removed. If the fine needle cell sample from a nodule is suspicious, then a diagnostic operation may be recommended to remove that side of the gland so that the nodule can be fully assessed to see whether it is benign, or whether it is a cancer. Sometimes if the nodule is confirmed as a cancer, further surgery may be required to remove the remaining thyroid tissue, or to remove lymph glands in the neck also.

Thyroid surgery can be associated with some problems with the voice after surgery. If the nerve(s) to the voice box or vocal cord are affected, this can result in either a hoarse voice, or a weak voice, which may be quiet and fade during long sentences or conversations. This is why thyroid surgery is undertaken only by specialist surgeons, and the risk of a permanent voice problem should be in the order of one percent or less.

Other problems that can arise after surgery are low calcium levels in the blood, which may require additional Calcium & Vitamin D tablet medication, or wound problems such as wound bleeding, infection or fluid collection (seroma). There will of course also be a scar on the neck, though this is kept as small as possible. The scar usually heals well, fades over time, and is placed in a skin crease so that it is even less visible. 

"Mark Tomlinson diagnosed my DVT and blood clots on my lung just talking to me. Urgent scans confirmed this, I was treated immediately, and I’ve been fine ever since. Not just a great surgeon, but a great Doctor too." - Ian Armour, Wennington

"I have an appointment to see you soon, but I cannot wait until then to thank you. All the planning, arrangements, and of course your surgical expertise and aftercare – I have so much to be grateful for. Thank you for my hernia operation and the very best possible care." - Mrs T. Churchill

"Mark Tomlinson has introduced several new surgical “keyhole” techniques and always aims to give great care. He has been a leading surgeon for years, and performs complex emergency surgery as well as routine procedures. " - Ian Armour, Wennington

"Mark Tomlinson for me was the way forward to renewed health and a more vigorous life style" - Terry Churchill

"I was extremely happy with the results of my vein radiofrequency ablation, and I am now happy to wear dresses and skirts again whenever I choose." - Miss T. Bessant

"My hernia repair was amazing –no pain or bruising, I’m delighted. I feel like a new woman!" - M.Holmes

"He conveys confidence, and is very approachable with his calming manner" - Terry Churchill

"I am so pleased with my varicose vein procedure: no bleeding, no pain, and a fantastic result – what more could I ask for?" - A.Holden

"At all stages during consultation, surgery and recovery I found Mr Tomlinson and his staff to be very professional and caring, and consequently I could not have asked for more from either" - P.Mckeever

"A more competent and caring surgeon would be hard to find, and I was most fortunate to have been introduced to him" - Terry Churchill

"After recuperation in accordance with all the written information I had received, my final consultation was a doddle. Being free of pain is one thing, but having no visible scars or marks etc. is fantastic." - R. Burnett

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Mark Tomlinson has been a leading specialist surgeon in Lancashire and Cumbria for over 10 years.

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  • Meet MarkRead More

    Mark Tomlinson has been a leading specialist surgeon in Lancashire and Cumbria for over 10 years.

    Read MoreRead More
  • Meet Your TeamRead More

  • Payment OptionsRead More

    We have a payment plan to suit everyone so please get in touch with us to discuss your preferred options.

    Read MoreFind Out More

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