Thyroid Cancer Treatment in India

Last Modified: January 27, 2020  |   Created on: November 21, 2019
Cancer Treatment

“The cost of thyroidectomy in India is estimated to be around $1500. This includes the cost of treatment and other services availed at the hospital during the entire stay. But, it does not include the cost associated with boarding, accommodation, local travel, food, and more procedures and diagnostic tests.

Thyroid-Cancer-Treatment

The cost of thyroidectomy in India is one of the lowest in the world. In fact, the cheap cost of thyroidectomy is one of the major reasons why patients from overseas prefer to come to India to undergo this surgery. The cost of thyroid cancer treatment depends on several factors.

  • The cost of surgery,
  • Surgeon’s fees,
  • Hospital charges,
  • Charges associated with the type of hospital room availed,
  • Anesthesia cost, and
  • The total number of days spent at the hospital

One thing to note here is that the cost of thyroidectomy remains quite affordable and less in India even when all the factors are taken into account. This is true even when the cost of boarding and food and hotel expenses in the country are considered.
The cost of living in India is quite affordable. Medical tourists can easily find good quality, yet cheap accommodation near the hospital. They can find affordable local transportation services. The cost of thyroidectomy in India is estimated to be around $1500. This includes the cost of treatment and other services availed at the hospital during the entire stay. However, it does not include the cost associated with boarding, accommodation, local travel, food, and additional procedures and diagnostic tests.

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Thyroidectomy: An Overview

The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped organ located in the lower front portion of the neck. It contains two cone-like lobes that are interconnected via the isthmus. The thyroid gland produces important hormones such as thyroxine, triiodothyronine, and calcitonin that help regulate metabolism.

Thyroidectomy is a surgical procedure used to dissect a single thyroid lobe. The surgery is sometimes extended to complete removal of the thyroid gland. It is usually performed to treat disorders related to thyroid glands such as goiter, hyperthyroidism, thyroid nodules, or thyroid cancer. Thyroid cancer treatment in India is conducted at several hospitals located in different parts of the country. This procedure is conducted with the help of the most specialized technology and equipment. Thyroidectomy surgery in India is far better than other countries, especially when it comes to the quality of treatment and the use of technology.

Patients from abroad can get to consult a thyroidectomy surgeon in India as soon as they arrive in the country. After thorough examination and scrutiny of the medical documents, the surgeon would suggest a date of surgery, if it is needed at all. The date of surgery depends on the urgency of the case and in some cases, next day surgery is planned to relieve the patient of the symptoms.

Thyroidectomy in India is safe and the success rate associated with this surgery is quite high in India. A big credit goes to the experienced thyroidectomy surgeons in India who perform the procedure with utmost care and accuracy.

Indications for Thyroidectomy

Thyroidectomy is used to treat certain disorders related to the thyroid gland and its malfunctioning. It is typically used for the treatment of the following conditions:

  • Thyroid cancer
  • Goiter
  • Multi-nodular goiter
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Toxic thyroid nodule
  • Grave’s disease

Types of Thyroidectomy

The type of thyroidectomy conducted by the surgeon depends on the disorder that the patient is suffering from and the part of the gland affected. Based on the assessment made by the doctor, one of the following thyroidectomy procedures could be conducted:

  • Total thyroidectomy: Used to remove the entire thyroid gland.
  • Thyroid lobectomy: Used to remove an entire lobe of the thyroid gland.
  • Partial thyroid lobectomy: Used to remove a part of the lobe of the thyroid gland.
  • Thyroid lobectomy with isthmusectomy: Used to remove isthmus along with a lobe of the thyroid gland.
  • Subtotal thyroidectomy: Used to remove a lobe, a part of another lobe of the thyroid gland, and the isthmus.

Thyroidectomy Approaches

Conventional surgical approach for thyroidectomy

Thyroidectomy using the conventional approach usually takes 1 to 3 hours, depending on the type of thyroidectomy that needs to be performed and the complexities involved with the procedure.
During the conventional surgery, an incision is made above the superior edge of the clavicle and the sternal notch in a curvilinear manner. The incision length varies from 2 cm to 8 cm depending on the exposure required to perform the surgery. Cervical linea alba present in the midway of the strap muscles is dissected to expose the thyroid gland.
After gaining access to the thyroid gland, one lobe should be scrutinized to carry out the capsular dissection to the lateral part of the lobe. Overlying strap muscles are set aside to dissect the cricothyroid space to give maximum exposure to the superior pole of the thyroid gland.
The surgeon now focuses on the parathyroid gland to keep it intact while performing the dissection of the posterior aspect of the thyroid gland. After identifying the parathyroid gland, the surgeon dissects it from the thyroid gland carefully and keeps it in the thyroid bed.
Now the surgeon finds the recurrent laryngeal nerve and confirms its identity with the help of nerve stimulation. The course of the nerve is dissected bluntly to remove the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is removed carefully without injuring the nerve.
The surgeon uses one or two stitches to pull back the neck muscles together. Now the deeper layer of the incision is closed meticulously with the help of the stitches. The skin is finally closed with the help of sterile paper tapes.

Minimally invasive thyroidectomy technique

The minimally invasive approach is carried out with the help of an endoscope and endoscopic instrumentation. The size of the incision usually ranges between 15 to 20 mm.
An endoscope along with the endoscopic instruments is inserted into the body of the patient via the neck through three or four tiny incisions. Each incision varies between 3 and 5 mm. The endoscope is used to guide the endoscopic instruments through the neck to reach the thyroid gland.
The thyroid gland or a part of the thyroid gland is removed with the help of tools and the entire process is visualized with the help of a camera attached to the tip of the endoscope. The movement of the surgical tools is in a video on a computer screen. After the surgery, the neck incisions are closed with the help of tiny stitches and surgical tape.

Robot-assisted thyroidectomy

Thyroidectomy can also be performed with the help of a robot, thanks to the advances made in the field of medical technology. A group of researchers introduced the trans-axillary approach using the da Vinci robotic system. This approach eliminates the need to create a neck incision.
The surgeon uses a 4 to 6 axillary incisions with an 8 mm medial skin incision to introduce the 4 robotic arms to carry out the surgery. The rest of the steps are similar to the conventional surgical procedure.

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Lyfboat is a free advisory platform; we do not charge any fees from patients. In fact, we negotiate the price that Indian hospitals offer. In some cases we are able to reduce the cost by negotiating upto 20% of what Hospitals generally offer. We advise the best treatment from the top hospital/surgeon at best price.

Post-operative Care

The patient is usually required to stay at the hospital overnight after the surgery. Calcium levels of the patient are monitored on a regular basis for iatrogenic hypothyroidism. If a patient is diagnosed with hypothyroidism, it is necessary to manage it with the help of medical intervention. Hydrogen peroxide and petroleum jelly may be advised for application at the site of the incisions twice daily.

Complications and Risks Associated with Thyroidectomy

Thyroidectomy is usually safe for most of the patients. However, some patients may experience a few complications associated with the procedure. Some of these complications and risks of thyroidectomy include the following:

  • Hypocalcaemia secondary to hypoparathyroidism: Transient hypocalcemia is reported in the literature and the percentage of affected people range between 5 and 50. However, the rate of permanent hypocalcemia secondary to hypoparathyroidism lies between the range of 0.5 to 2 percent.
  • Injury to the recurrent laryngeal nerve: If the surgery is not done with extreme care, there are chances of recurrent laryngeal nerve damage. This may lead to vocal fold paresis or paralysis, resulting in a husky voice for a short or long term.
  • Injury to a portion of the superior laryngeal nerve: If the superior laryngeal nerve gets injured, the patient may experience hoarseness in voice or vocal fatigue.
  • Neck hematoma: It is a dangerous complication associated with thyroidectomy and it affects 1 percent of the individuals who undergo this procedure. The wound bulges and the neck swells, which may lead to asphyxiation.
  • Wound infection: With the advancements in the medical technology, chances of infection are rare. Only 1 to 2 percent of patients develop a wound infection after the surgery.
  • Thyrotoxic storm: There may be a surge in the levels of hormones released by the thyroid gland in the blood if the patient has Grave’s syndrome or hyperthyroidism. This may even lead to coma or death if left untreated.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Thyroid Surgery in India

Q. How long will I have to stay in the hospital after my thyroid surgery?

Most patients can leave the hospital the same day after the procedure. You will be moved to an observation or recovery room post surgery and kept there for 6 to 8 hours.

Q. Will there be any physical restrictions after the surgery?

The patient can eat, drink, and do most normal activities following the operation. Generally, it is advised to avoid heavy lifting and strenuous activities for a week after the surgery.

Q. When can I return to work after thyroid surgery?

Most patients can resume work within the one or two weeks post surgery. You may be able to start driving as soon as you can move your head sideways comfortably and are not on narcotic pain medication.

Q. What are the possible complications of thyroid surgery?

Some potential complications of thyroid surgery include:

  • Bleeding just few the hours after the surgery – it can lead to acute respiratory distress
  • Damage to parathyroid glands – as these glands manage blood calcium levels, it can cause temporary, or rarely, permanent hypocalcemia and hypoparathyroidism.
  • Nerve injury, particularly to the recurrent laryngeal nerve. It may lead to temporary or permanent hoarseness, and may even cause acute respiratory distress. In some very rare cases both nerves may get injured
  • Other surgical risks such as infection, reaction to anaesthesia and more

Q. Will I be in pain after the surgery?

Every patient has a different experience of pain. People have some pain post-surgery but it is easily managed with pain medicines prescribed by the surgeon. After thyroid surgery, you may have a sore throat, swallowing difficulties, and a hoarse voice for some days. These symptoms resolve over time.

Q. What medicines will I need to take after the surgery?

Typically, patients only need pain medicines following the surgery. The surgeon may also prescribe calcium and vitamin D as the parathyroid glands that control calcium levels in the blood may not function properly after thyroid surgery. Some patients may only require calcium supplements temporarily.

Q. Do I need to take thyroid hormone after the surgery?

The surgeon may prescribe thyroid hormone after the operation, if you weren’t taking one before the operation. Those who were taking thyroid hormone pills prior to the surgery, continue with the same dose unless altered by the surgeon. After a total thyroidectomy, a patient will need to take thyroid hormone for a lifetime.

Q. How will I know if my blood calcium level drops and I need to take extra calcium?

The common signs of low blood calcium or hypocalcemia after a thyroid surgery are numbness and tingling sensation in the fingers and around the mouth. Some people may also experience muscle cramps. The surgeons will prescribe the required extra calcium dosage for you and recommend the extra calcium you need to take.

Dr. Suneet Singh

Written By Dr. Suneet Singh

Dr. Suneet is a doctor-turned-Hospital Administrator with a rich 12 years plus multi-faceted experience in the field of operations management, Corporate and Public Health Administration. Formerly a practicing doctor, Dr. Suneet holds a post-graduate degree in Hospital and Healthcare management from one of the country's esteemed Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS)

Best Thyroidectomy Hospitals in India

Indian thyroidectomy hospitals are globally renowned for their world-class infrastructure and facilities. These hospitals use the most advanced technology and techniques for the surgery. The top thyroidectomy hospitals offer all types of diagnostic and therapeutic services under a single roof. These services are delivered in a comfortable environment by a team of highly experienced staff.

The thyroidectomy hospitals in India have collaborated with some of the most experienced surgeons in the country. These hospitals are associated with many surgeons. They help deliver successful treatment to patients. Medical tourists from abroad can seek an appointment with a thyroidectomy specialist by directly getting in touch with a hospital of their choice.

A majority of thyroidectomy hospitals in India are certified by accreditation bodies such as the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers and Joint Commission International. These certifications are proof of the fact that the hospital maintains the highest standards of quality.

Best Thyroidectomy Surgeons in India

The best surgeons for thyroidectomy in India work in close collaboration with the top hospitals in the country. A medical tourist from abroad can seek an appointment with the surgeon of their choice by getting in touch with the hospitals located in a particular city. A majority of surgeons are educated and trained from some of the most prestigious universities in the world. They regularly attend conferences and training around the year to update their knowledge. They also get a hands-on experience of the latest technology available in the field of healthcare.

The top thyroidectomy specialists in India hold extensive experience in the treatment of different types of disorders related to the thyroid. They do not focus on the treatment of the disorder but also make an attempt to understand the nature of the root cause of the illness. They take steps to ensure that the problem is completely mitigated and no chances of recurrence are left.

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