A Blyth woman has become the first in the north east to undergo pioneering thyroid surgery, leaving her with a minimal scar on her neck.
Stacey Young was just 24 when she developed a cyst which needed draining every six months.
After two years of treatment, specialists at Wansbeck General Hospital advised the now 27-year-old to undergo a ‘thyroidectomy’ procedure to remove the troublesome half of her thyroid gland.
Concerned about the scar which could be left on her neck, Stacey cancelled her original operation before medics suggested a new procedure –’Minimally Invasive Video Assisted Thyroidectomy (MIVAT)’ which can reduce the size of the scar by over 50 per cent.
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is the only NHS trust in the north east to perform the procedure, and one of a handful in the country.
Stacey said: “Your neck is a very prominent place to have a scar – especially for women – but thanks to surgeons at Wansbeck, my wound is very neat and very small compared to what it could have been.
“I know other people who have had their thyroid glands out and ended up with scars right across their neck.”
Instead of creating a large wound across the neck to access the thyroid glands, surgeons use smart video technology and make a much smaller incision so that they can first assess the size of the thyroid glands before they are removed.
Consultant surgeon Sebastian Aspinall said: “Thyroidectomy surgery always results in a scar on the front of the neck which is in a very prominent position and inevitably can mean patients become very self-conscious of their scar.
“As soon as I saw the procedure being carried out, I knew it was something we could be offering to patients in the north east and we are now the first hospital trust in the region to carry out this procedure.
“We see hundreds of patients every year with thyroid problems at Northumbria and carry out around about 70 thyroidectomy operations every year across our general hospitals.
“In future, we hope around ten per cent of these patients will be able to benefit from this new minimal scarring procedure.”