Thyroid Specialist
Thyroid problems can cause an array of health issues. For instance, you might gain a lot of weight with no explanation. Or you could have really dry skin or even lose your hair. Because your thyroid powers so many systems throughout your body, it’s important to have a thorough checkup to ensure everything’s running smoothly. If you’re in the Century City area, visit Dr. Michel Babajanian, otolaryngologist, at the first sign that something is wrong. As a surgical thyroid expert, he’ll get to the root of your problem and set up an individualized treatment plan.

Thyroid Q & A

by Michel Babajanian, MD, FACS

What does the thyroid do?

Your thyroid -- located in your neck, above your collarbone -- is one of the endocrine glands that makes hormones. For the most part, these hormones are responsible for figuring out how many calories you burn, known as your metabolism. Some thyroid hormones even regulate your heart rhythm.

What types of problems can happen with the thyroid?

  • Thyroiditis: A swollen thyroid
  • Hypothyroidism: A thyroid that doesn’t make enough hormones
  • Hyperthyroidism: A thyroid that makes too much of the thyroid hormones
  • Goiter: A visible enlargement of the thyroid
  • Thyroid nodules: Lumps on the thyroid
  • Thyroid cancer

Are there symptoms of thyroid issues I should know about?

Yes. Because your thyroid is responsible for a slew of processes in your body, you might have an array of symptoms, which can include:

  • Abnormal heart rhythm -- too fast or too slow
  • Rapid weight loss or weight gain
  • Bowel irregularity
  • Mood swings or nervousness
  • Dry or flaky skin
  • Inability to sweat
  • Swollen neck
  • Heat sensitivity
  • Hair loss
  • Insomnia

How are thyroid issues treated?

It depends on the diagnosis. If your thyroid is making too much of a certain hormone, for example, you may have to undergo radioactive iodine treatments, or possibly surgery. If you’re lacking a hormone, though, it’s possible that prescription medication may help. In more severe cases, such as a large goiter or thyroid cancer, it’s possible that you’ll have to have all or part of your thyroid removed. If your thyroid has to come out, you’ll likely have to be on hormone-replacement medications for the rest of your life.

What should I expect from thyroid surgery?

If Dr. Babajanian determines that all or part of your thyroid needs to be removed, he will thoroughly discuss post-surgical expectations with you. Dr. Babajanian specializes in minimally invasive thyroid surgical techniques, minimizing your recovery time. Depending on how much of your thyroid is removed, you might have to take a daily thyroid pill. Thyroid surgery generally has very few risks, with less than 2% of surgeries having any complications. Usually, only patients with very invasive thyroid tumors are at a slightly higher risk of having any sort of serious surgical issue.

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Michel Babajanian, MD, FACS
2080 Century Park East
Suite 1700
Los Angeles, CA 90067