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What are the risks associated with thyroid tumor surgery?

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Quick Answer

Potential risks associated with thyroid cancer removal surgeries include infection, excessive bleeding, formation of a hematoma in the back of the neck, and temporary or permanent hoarseness or loss of voice, according to the American Cancer Society. The surgery may also damage the parathyroid glands.

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Full Answer

Excessive bleeding during surgery may cause acute respiratory distress, according to the American Thyroid Association. A blood clot, or hematoma, may form in the back of the neck, according to the American Cancer Society. There is also the risk of infection after the thyroid tumor surgery.

During the surgery, the breathing tube may irritate the larynx or voice box, explains the American Cancer Society. This may damage the nerves of the larynx and cause hoarseness or loss of voice after the surgery. The patient may have a problem reaching higher notes, and his voice may become weak, states MedlinePlus. Injury to the nerves of the vocal cords and larynx may also cause trouble speaking, trouble breathing and problems when coughing.

There is also the risk of damage to the parathyroid glands during a total thyroidectomy, states WebMD. The surgeon may accidentally damage or remove these glands during the surgery. Since the glands regulate calcium levels in the body, damaging or removing them may result in hypoparathyroidism and hypocalcemia, according to the American Thyroid Association. This may cause tingling sensations, muscle spasms and numbness, explains the American Cancer Society.

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