Thursday, April 30, 2009

"My Physician found my TSH was high, and started me on thyroid hormone. Why am I worried about this ? Isn't there more investigation needed?"

The answer to this Ask the Doctor email is yes. The finding of an elevated TSH or even a slowly increasing TSH over a few years is a clue to the onset of hypothyroidism. The abnormal TSH should be the starting point to investigate the cause of the failing thyroid and to evaluate the structure of the gland. TSH elevation even in the upper normal range has been found to be a risk factor for thyroid cancer. All newly diagnosed patients with TSH 2.5-10 are in the risk pool for cancer. The primary physician may not even feel the patient's neck before starting therapy. The thyroid gland is almost always abnormal to physical examination by a clinical thyroidologist. Firm gland with cobble stone surface is usually missed by the primary physician. Before allowing the physician to treat you, you need a complete thyroid evaluation looking for nodules. The endocrine neck ultrasonographer thyroidologist will do a detailed study of the thyroid, lymph nodes and parathyroid areas. If a suspicious nodule or lymph node is found, an ultrasound guided FNA will be done. Modern thyroidology concepts include hands on ultrasound real time done by your thyroidologist or endocrinologist, not by a radiology tech, who prints out pictures for a radiologist to look at after the fact. The original evaluation when the abnormal TSH is found is the best time to see a clinical thyroidologist, notjust start thyroid hormone.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Surgery for Benign Thyroid Cystic Nodules? Not Anymore! There is a New Medical Treatment Using Injection of Alcohol call PEI

42 year old female with a large visible mass on the right thyroid lobe. She had local symptoms and did not like the looks of the mass, as it distorted her thin neck. Her thyroid tests were normal, but a complex cyst was seen in the right lobe on ultrasound.
An FNA and drainage of the cyst fluid was done. The free hand FNA done without ultrasound guidance, was negative for cancer, but the mass recurred in 4 weeks. The endocrinologist referred her to a surgeon to remove the mass. She was referred to me for a second opinion on the need for surgery. Of course she had searched the web for alternatives to surgery, and found my website.
She learned about my Ethanol Injection Method (PEI) for recurrent Cysts. The cyst was 11 ml in size and had a complex solid component. An ultrasound guided FNA aimed directly at the solid component to R/O cystic papillary thyroid cancer was negative. The injection of ethanol after draining the cyst was successful. She had slight burning sensation as the needle was removed, but othewise there was no other side effects. She returned in a month to see the effects of the ethanol on the cyst. When she walked int the examining room, she said, "The thing is gone". The large visible mass was not seen on inspection, or was it felt on palpation. The mass was still there but was markedly reduced. From the original 11 ml to 0.6 ml. That was a >90%
reduction in size. The average reduction noted in the literature is 80%. She did not need surgery, because the reasons for surgery did not exist anymore.They are fear of cancer, obstruction,and removing an ugly mass for cosmetic reasons.

Get a second opinion before having thyroid surgery for a cyst.

Good Lck,Dr.G.