The thyroid is a gland in the front of the neck.
It is responsible for producing thyroid hormone, which is critical in controlling the body's metabolism.
Problems with the thyroid are usually due to:
under- or over-production of thyroid hormone, or
nodules (lumps) in the thyroid gland.
Changes in thyroid activity
Increase in the thyroid hormone (hyperthyroid) has four main causes:
Toxic multinodular goitre
Treatment is usually managed in conjunction with an Endocrinologist. and sometimes includes removal of overactive thyroid tissue.
Underactive thyroids (hypothyroid) is rarely an indication for surgery.
Thyroid nodules are lumps in an otherwise normal thyroid gland.
Nodules are common, and most often not palpable. They are frequently found incidentally on imaging.
Most thyroid nodules are benign, but can occasionally cause pressure symptoms such as difficulty swallowing, breathing, or obvious swelling in the neck.
Dr Birks will take time to explain the process of investigating thyroid nodules to try and identify the small percentage that are cancerous. Thyroid cancer is reasonably common, but rarely life-threatening.
Dr Birks is an experienced thyroid surgeon and uses an intraoperative nerve monitor to test & safeguard the recurrent laryngeal nerve (to the voice box).
She works with a multidisciplinary team to plan thyroid cancer treatment beyond surgery.