Integrative Approaches to Patients Undergoing Thyroid Surgery

  • Beatriz OlsonEmail author


This chapter focuses on patient-centered and holistic management of individuals undergoing thyroid surgery, from the preoperative to the postoperative phases of their treatment. Holistic care recognizes that illness involves the whole person and that mind and body issues need to be addressed, synchronously throughout the process, for the patient to feel served and whole at the end. Holistic care uses an integrative medicine approach that combines evidenced-based conventional medicine with complementary therapies, when needed, to achieve wellness after thyroidectomy and cancer diagnosis. Wellness is a state of health that encompasses vitality or vigor of body and mind, not just mere absence of disease. Data in the last decade has unmasked the physical and neurocognitive burden, after thyroidectomy, of hypothyroidism and the additive impact of a thyroid cancer diagnosis. Even though, in most, the original thyroid condition has been cured and thyroid replacement is adequate, many remain unwell with complaints of weight gain, fatigue, psychiatric and neurocognitive issues, worry, and impairment in quality of life. We lack evidence-based approaches to address these mind-body issues that result in lack of wellness post-thyroidectomy in these two groups of patients. Treatment of hypothyroidism is a complex and imperfect science, and levothyroxine therapy is never quite right for a significant (10–20 %) minority of patients. This chapter discusses the standard of care treatment of hypothyroidism after thyroidectomy and the rationale for use of complementary and alternative therapies to address hypothyroid complaints and other mind-body issues not adequately addressed by current treatment methods. The integration of complementary therapies to conventional medicine broadens the spectrum of options we can offer patients where standard therapies are limited.


Holistic Integrative medicine Complementary and alternative therapies Weight gain and thyroidectomy Post-thyroidectomy fatigue Cancer-related fatigue Mindfulness Relaxation therapies Cognitive behavioral therapy Hypothyroid Thyroid hormone replacement Radioiodine treatment 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.EndocrinologyYale University School of MedicineMiddleburyUSA

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