Simple Steps Improve Appearance After Thyroid Surgery

Many patients worry about scarring, experts say

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FRIDAY, July 13, 2007 (HealthDay News) -- Cosmetic surgery approaches can lead to better aesthetic outcomes for patients having thyroid surgery, researchers report.

The thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland located in the neck.

Dr. David Terris, chair of the department of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at the Medical College of Georgia, in Augusta, studied 248 patients who underwent thyroid surgery. He noted that many patients are concerned about their appearance after the surgery.

"It matters to them how big the scar is, if it's even, if it's hidden in a skin crease, if the edges are nicely aligned," Terris said in a prepared statement.

He found "that while keeping the management of the underlying thyroid problems as the first priority, we can still achieve a maximal cosmetic result."

One simple tip is to have patients sit or stand while incision sites are marked, so that the incision sites better blend into the natural lines of the body.

"You want the incision to be in a location that corresponds to a cosmetically favorable area when you are upright at a dinner party, not stretched out on an operating room table," Terris said.

Other cosmetic surgery techniques that can help improve aesthetic outcomes among thyroid surgery patients include:

  • Trimming traumatized edges at the incision sites
  • Using surgical glues instead of sutures
  • Minimizing trauma to surrounding skin
  • Minimizing use of drains to manage post-surgery oozing.

Terris' team published its findings in the July issue of The Laryngoscope.

More information

The American Academy of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery has more about the thyroid and thyroid surgery.

SOURCE: Medical College of Georgia, news release, July 9, 2007


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