Hello. I have recently been diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer & had a total thyroidectomy a little over a week ago. Although my surgeon was iniatially confident that the cancer had not spread elsewhere he has now referred me to another surgeon who more than likely will do a neck dissection to remove lymph nodes that could possibly be affected before having radioactive iodine treatment. Images on the web of a neck dissection are a bit daunting & I would like to hear from anyone who has been down this road. Cheers.
Hi there. You really need to clarify with your surgeon what his "plan" is. Is he doing a "radical" neck dissection or a partial. I had a partial and all he took was 31 lymph nodes and I hadn't consented to a total dissection beforehand. A radical is when they can take lymph nodes, muscle, bone ect.. which can cause the distortion of the face like you are probably seeing. I have seen that before with throat cancer and even oral cancer patients. I don't see it that often with thyroid cancer, as far as taking muscle ect.I just suggest that you clarify with your doctor before you sign any consent regarding this.
Thanks Jenny for that very knowledgeable response.
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I had my thyroid removed after finding out it was all full of cancer. Doc took out full thyroid and 8 lymph nodes around it. 5 of the 8 lymph nodes had cancer in them. My doc suggested doing the radioactive iodine since the cancer had already spread. It wasn't that bad. Nowhere near what I was expecting. That night I actually stayed up until 2 AM tiling my bathroom. The next day and a half I was pretty knocked out. I didn't get sick, I was just weak and tired. I had to have two neck dissections (partial) one on each side about 6 months apart and 6 months after the thyroid removal. I had two PET scans both showed false positives and the lymph nodes that were found to be cancerous didn't show up on the scans. That sucked since they charge $9600 per scan. I had insurance then so it was ok. The only thing about the dissections was the tightness of the muscles after the surgeries. It has been 5 years almost and they are still very tight. I have had massages for 7 or 8 months 3 times a week and they still are all tight. That's my two cents.
I just had thyroidectomy and right neck dissection last Thursday, they took some 20 -40 lymph nodes out with the majority showing cancer. I am still swollen quite a bit. I still have the neck drain in and ended up with a thoracic leak. Still Pain isn't too bad, and for the pain you will have they give you happy pills, so don't be too worried.
My Mom had a spot on her nose removed when I was 15 (I'm now 26) and a year later it showed back up. It was removed, biopsied, and was confirmed to be cancerous. They did a neck dissection on her, and removed 16 lymph nodes in all. It equaled to about half of her neck, (she wasn't very big to begin with) but the doctor did a fabulous job with it. Other people in her exact same situation weren't as lucky and weren't able to walk. She worked after surgery, chemo and radiation for almost 9.5 years. She went into retirement last year. I would recommend her ENT surgeon to anyone that needs one.
Talk to the doctor and find out what they want to take out. And make sure that he/she is the best surgeon you can find/afford.
I hope this helps.