Undergoing thyroid removal surgery, known as thyroidectomy, is a significant step towards maintaining one’s health. As a valuable tool in the fight against nodule growth or malfunction, it is a common surgery and is generally a safe procedure when performed by a qualified and experienced surgeon.
In addition to the improved quality of life, one unfortunate component of thyroid removal is its potential influence on the skin, particularly collagen and elastin levels. Thyroid removal surgery, and the subsequent medications, can potentially lead to the loss of collagen and elastin, which can lead to unsightly skin wrinkles and folds.
It is not unusual that someone who has gone through thyroid removal surgery to look towards cosmetic surgery to restore a look and definition to their skin that has been lost during the process. Many cosmetic surgeons will work together with medical practitioners to provide insight and experience into how cosmetic surgery can be used after thyroid surgery to help patients address concerns with their skin following the surgery.
To help improve awareness around this issue, we’ve put together this blog to examine the surgical impact of thyroid removal surgery on the skin, and the surgical and non-surgical skin treatment solutions that can help improve your post-surgery look.
The Surgical Impact
The thyroid gland plays a vital role in regulating metabolism, energy production, and even the health of our skin. When thyroid dysfunction necessitates its removal, patients often take replacement hormones to maintain hormonal balance. While the primary focus is on internal health, it’s important to recognise the potential external impact as well.
While necessary for sustaining a healthy recovery process post-surgery, these medications could interfere with collagen production and utilisation, potentially leading to a reduction in skin thickness and elasticity. Additionally, hormonal imbalances caused by the surgery and medication adjustments could further exacerbate skin changes.
Collagen and elastin are two crucial proteins that give our skin its youthful appearance, strength, and elasticity. Collagen provides structure, while elastin imparts flexibility. As we age, the natural production of these proteins decreases, leading to skin sagging, wrinkles, and other signs of aging.
Thankfully there are a range of solution options for someone looking to improve their skin condition either before or after thyroid removal surgery. We are going to look at a few of the surgical and non-surgical solutions that are available to you, though it is important to consult with a professional cosmetic surgeon before considering any treatment option, so that a proper evaluation of your goals and treatments options for your specific unique conditions can be discussed and considered.
Surgical Solutions For Skin Rejuvenation
For some individuals who have undergone thyroidectomy, the changes in collagen and elastin levels, coupled with hormonal fluctuations, might manifest itself as loose or sagging skin around the neck area. This can add to the perception of accelerated aging. In such cases, a neck lift procedure might be considered to address the visible effects.
A neck lift, or lower rhytidectomy, is a surgical solution that involves tightening the skin and underlying muscles to restore contours around the neck. Ideal candidates for a neck lift are individuals who are in good overall health and have specific concerns about the appearance of their neck, such as loose or sagging skin, the presence of neck bands, or excess fat deposits.
Before undergoing a neck lift, patients will need to consult with their selected cosmetic surgeon to discuss their goals and understand their suitability for this procedure. During this consultation, the surgeon will assess the patient’s facial and neck anatomy, discuss their goals and expectations, and explain the surgical options available.
After surgery, patients can expect some swelling, bruising, and discomfort, which typically will subside over the following weeks. The results of a neck lift will become more apparent as the initial swelling diminishes, usually within a few weeks to a few months. While a neck lift can provide long-lasting results, it cannot stop the natural aging process. Factors such as genetics, lifestyle, and sun exposure can affect how long the neck lift results may last.
If you’d like to learn more about the Neck Lift procedure, click on the link provided.
Non-Surgical Alternatives for Skin Rejuvenation
While a neck lift is a viable option for addressing more advanced cases of skin sagging, it’s just as valuable to explore non-surgical alternatives for less severe instances, or those looking to make more minor adjustments, to help address the issues of skin deterioration and skin health, both before and after thyroid removal surgery.
These alternatives not only aim to stimulate collagen and elastin production but also provide overall skin rejuvenation without the need for invasive procedures. Here are some non-surgical treatments to consider:
- Microneedling: This procedure involves the use of tiny needles to create controlled micro-injuries in the skin, stimulating the body’s natural collagen and elastin production. Microneedling can help improve skin texture, reduce fine lines, and enhance overall skin tone.
- EMFACE: EMFACE stands unrivalled as the pioneer device in the market that employs the combined power of Synchronised Radio Frequency and HIFESTM technologies concurrently. By heating the dermis, EMFACE initiates a transformative process that remodels and smooths skin, boosting the production of collagen and elastin fibres, key to skin elasticity and firmness, it can help improve the lower face/jawline, which can help improve the look of the neck skin.
- Laser Resurfacing: Laser treatment systems, like the ICON 1540 Laser, target specific layers of the skin, promoting collagen remodelling. Fractional laser resurfacing, for instance, can address fine lines, wrinkles, and skin irregularities.
- ULTRAFORMER III: The ULTRAFORMER is a non-invasive ultrasound device that is designed to tighten and lift the skin on the face and neck, creating a smoother appearance. Ideal for people who want to address sagging contours, lines and wrinkles without having to undergo surgery.
- Topical Treatments: Incorporating skincare products with ingredients like retinol, hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, and peptides can aid in boosting collagen synthesis and hydration.
The Right Cosmetic Option For You
While it can be disappointing to learn of some of the side effects that thyroid removal surgery can have, it is important to note that its value in improving your quality of life makes it a worthwhile procedure. And that there are available solutions for addressing some of the unwelcomed side effects, including the potential loss of collagen and elastin in the skin, if they materialise. While this might lead to the consideration for a neck lift in some cases, there are also non-surgical alternatives that exist to address and even prevent these effects.
By embracing skin treatments that stimulate collagen and elastin production, or ones that improve the look and appearance of your skin, individuals undergoing thyroidectomy have options to preserve the overall health and vitality of their skin following surgery.
Consulting with a qualified cosmetic surgeon can help guide your way towards a personalised solution that caters to your individual needs, concerns, and preferences. If you have questions, or want to learn more about your options, contact the team at Dr Michael Zacharia to learn more; we look forward to working with you together to achieve a look that you are happy with.