Rare surgery to remove thyroid tumour saves woman’s life


Large tumour had grown into chest cavity and was compressing heart, bronchus and major blood vessels

A 31-year-old woman, a native of Lakshadweep, who went through a life-threatening condition caused by a huge thyroid tumour which had grown into the chest cavity, was saved through a rare surgery at VPS Lakeshore Hospital.

The patient had developed severe stridor and was put on a ventilator as the tumour was blocking her respiratory passage completely. She also developed cardiorespiratory arrest and was intubated by an anaesthesiologist in Lakshadweep before she was airlifted to Kochi with the ventilator support. The mission of shifting the critically ill patient was carried out by four doctors.

Her evaluation showed a huge tumour of thyroid fully occupying the neck and had grossly shifted the respiratory passage or trachea. A CT scan showed that the tumour had grown into the chest and was compressing the heart, bronchus and major blood vessels. She was having lung and cardiac problems as well. The only option left to save the life of the patient was to remove the large tumour though it was a very risky task. Usually, thyroid and other neck tumours are removed by keyhole procedures with no neck scars. But for this patient, as her tumour was too large and extending into the mediastinum, it was decided to open the neck and mid part of the chest (sternum), according to Dr. R. Padmakumar, head of the department of minimally invasive surgery at the hospital who led the surgery.

They managed to remove the tumour above the heart and major vessels, safeguarding the bronchus and trachea. The patient is doing well.

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