Thyroid Diseases (non-cancer)

  • Benign thyroid nodules
  • Multinodular goiter
  • Graves disease

90 Responses to Thyroid Diseases (non-cancer)

  1. rebecca baeza says:

    Hi everyone. Im a 46 year old woman and was diagnosed with graves disease in 2011. My thyroid was controlled with medication up until a year and a half ago. My numbers were staggering to say the least and I was in the er room for the better part of the last year. I got to know all my nurses by first and last name. Fearfull, yes I was that because my graves was spiraling out of control. I met Dr. Herari in 2013 and she quickly gained my confidence. Somehow I knew she could help me.. My t4 were at 3100 and we needed to do something fast. So some med titrating and then a med change were in order. I finally got to a place were my numbers were at 460 and Dr Herari and her team were able to do my surgery, the best 2.5 hours of my life. I wanted it out. What an incredible team she has. I felt safe. I felt for the first time like someone really cared about me and not just my numbers or my disease looking into my surgeons eyes. The surgery lasted around 2.5 hours and when I awoke I felt like a new person. The pain was minimal and I could see better days ahead of me with my worst days behind me. Dr Herari and her team did that for me. She was a godsend and I am eternally greatfull for what she did for me. She changed my life Thank you Dr. Herari. You amaze me. Sincerely, Rebecca Baeza .

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Dr Herari I have been suffering with Graves disease for many years and the last 3 years has been just unbearable. You gave me confidence from the very first visit in your office. I had a thyroidectomy on July 3rd and have had nothing but relief since the surgery. No longer do I suffer from rapid heart rates (190 bpm)wild mood swings and uncontrollable weight loss and gain to name the least. My experience from start to finish was one of complete care. You managed to save my para thyroid and I thank you for that. My recovery was short and that’s all due to your knowledgeable and skilled hands. My resting heart rate is now 70. I just feel good. For anyone wanting or thinking about this type of surgery I strongly push and encourage you to get the help and need from Dr. Herari and her great staff. Sincerely Rebecca

  3. Anonymous says:

    Had my right thyroid removed on June 12, 2014. The entire team is A-one. No doubt. Question: almost 4 weeks now: how long usually for the swelling/bump to go down?

  4. Anonymous says:

    My primary care physician found a tiny lump on my right thyroid, I received one ultrasound each year for the next two years, in the third year I got an FNA/biopsy, the test results were inconclusive, and my PCP suggested I see a surgeon.

    I was evaluated by Dr. Michael W. Yeh and because of his knowledge and confidence, my
    nervousness was soothed.

    The surgery at UCLA Reagan Hospital went smoothly thanks to Dr. Yeh and his team (anesthesiologists, Jennifer his nurse practitioner, the nurses, and administrative staff) who helped in this process.

    No cancer. Yay! It’s one month post-op and I’m grateful for this positive experience.

    Thank you so much, Dr. Yeh!

  5. Debbie Stauffer says:

    I knew the minute I met Dr. Yeh The Lord had directed me to the right doctor. Hearing the news that I had a thyroid tumor was a shock to me as I have always been quite healthy. At 53, I found myself at a loss as to “where” and “whom” I should choose to determine my prognosis.

    During my initial visit, I told Dr. Yeh that I don’t “do” biopsies. He told me to lay down and he performed his own ultrasound on me right there in his office. He sat me up and told me that I had several issues going on (Hoshimotos, mass, nodule) , needed surgery but expressed that I had nothing to worry about. The pathology report was benign, but was “pre-cancer”. Taking out the entire gland in one piece was the best decision. No further treatment was needed…The Lord is good.

    My surgery was March 27, 2014. I’ve never had any bruising, only minimal pain and the incision was performed in a natural crease. It’s healing very nicely. Dr Yeh did such a great job taking out my thyroid that I didn’t have any damage to the calcium pockets. The biggest adjustment for me was that I am now required to take a pill everyday. In the beginning I had multiple questions in regards to the dosage. Dr Yeh and his staff answered my concerns right away.

    Dr. Yeh was very comforting and confident. It is obvious why he is considered the best in his field. I visited other Doctors prior to my visit with Dr Yeh. One doc from a well renown medical hospital basically bowed out once he became aware that I was visiting Dr. Yeh the next day.

    At UCLA, I knew that no matter what happened to me, I had the BEST doctor and was having the procedure done in the best facility. With that in mind, I was at peace knowing I had done all I could do.

    Dr. Yeh is the best surgeon available in the United States for Thyroid issues. No matter where you live it is worth your time to see him. He is always available via email before or after surgery to answer any questions or concerns you may have. Initially I was very impressed when I called the clinic and heard his voice answer the phone. His recording said that it was important to him that his staff assist the calls coming in and if the caller had any concerns they needed to contact him directly. What a guy! That was the FIRST of many things involved in our journey that proved to me that he truly cares about each one of his patients. You are NOT a number when dealing with Dr. Yeh.

    All in all, you still need to pray. Everything happens for a reason, and It’s nice to know God is ultimately in control. I do believe we have been Blessed with this wonderful surgeon. You don’t need to look any longer, pick up your phone and schedule an appointment with this man. He’s the BEST doc.
    Blessings….

  6. Catherine says:

    The best endocrine surgeon in America, Dr. Michael Yeh!!! My appreciation to him is beyond words. He has exceptional skills, is professionalism, and has a positive demeanor. I was blessed that he did my surgery. Thank you Dr. Yeh!
    • He was thorough and cautious on determining the right treatment I needed.
    • He is exceptionally skilled and well experienced. My incision was only about 1 inch long. My voice is completely normal after the surgery. There was no bleeding, no complications, and no pain.
    • He utilizes the most advanced equipment (Sestamibi scan & high resolution ultrasound…), labs, and surgical techniques at UCLA in order to get the best results for his patients.
    • He is personal, caring and patient with his patients. He is confident, encouraging and trustful.
    • He leads an incredible team. They know what they are doing and are always available to the patients. They are friendly, patient and professional.
    • My calcium level normalized. I am healthier and happier now.

    I am a CPA and in my forties. In January 2014, I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism via a blood test at UCLA. My calcium level was 12.7 and PTH was 158 with a vitamin D deficiency. Dr. Yeh was highly recommended to me as “the best endocrine surgeon” by my endocrinologist at UCLA medical group (UCLA). I did sestamibi scan. With the scan result, I went to see Dr. Yeh. Instead of simply making surgery arrangements, Dr. Yeh carefully explained the diagnosis and did further examinations. There is a high resolution ultrasound in his office. He performed an ultrasound on my neck and asked more detailed questions. He found a growth on my thyroid in addition to one expected parathyroid adenoma. When he told me about the thyroid nodule, I panicked and terrified. I was afraid the nodule could be cancer. Dr. Yeh was very patient with me and carefully explained to me why it might not be the case. He asked me not to worry. His explanation was logical and informative. He even drew me a picture and ensured I understood. In order to determine the best treatment for me, he arranged for me to do a biopsy on the thyroid nodule. Although I had to go through more procedures, however, I left his office in a peaceful state of mind that day, since I knew I was in the good hands.
    When I returned to Dr. Yeh, he gave me the good news that the thyroid nodule was benign. There was no need to remove either the nodule or my thyroid. I was very pleased and impressed that he was right in the first place. In order to be prepared for the parathyroid surgery, I came up with a laundry list of questions. Due to my profession habit as an accountant, I am normally detail oriented and well organized. However, before I started with my “well developed” questions, Dr. Yeh walked me through each step I could possibly run into during surgery. He was detailed and thorough. All I did was check off the questions I had on the laundry list.

    I had the surgery with Dr. Yeh in late February 2014. I was called into the waiting room on time. The nurses and anesthesiologists were all nice and introduced themselves to me. Right before the surgery, I became panicked and anxious. Dr. Yeh just finished his prior surgery. Once he was notified about my status, he came by twice and encouraged me. He was relaxed and smiling. He said to me “Don’t worry. Everything will be fine.” The voice was firm with care and confidence. On my way to the surgery room, I was peaceful and fell asleep with that voice in my mind…

    Right before the scheduled surgery day, the thyroid nodule suddenly grew much larger than before. During the surgery, Dr. Yeh noted the enlarged nodule sat right in the way to the parathyroid tumor. This was unexpected. Based on his experience, he knew that both of them had to be removed. Without any preparation or rescheduling, he was able to quickly figure out a suitable plan and calmly removed both the nodule and the parathyroid adenoma. Before the end of the surgery, Dr. Yeh also took some sample tissue from the normal parathyroid and confirmed all three of the other parathyroid glands; the thyroid nodule and the sample tissue were all negative and normal through the biopsy examination. The surgery was very successful. My incision was only about 1 inch long. It looks like a scratch I did to myself now. My voice is completely normal after the surgery. There was no bleeding, no complications, and no pain. I fully benefited by having such an exceptionally skilled and well experienced surgeon, Dr. Yeh. Thank you!

    On the night of surgery, I stayed in the UCLA Santa Monica hospital. The care workers, the nurses, and the doctor on duty were all very patient and friendly. The care worker was always just two seconds away from me every time when I pushed the button (call for help). The nurses stopped by several times throughout the night to check on me. The night-shift doctor even had a short conversation with me and ensured all my questions were answered and my mind was at peace. I felt at home. I never stayed in the hospital before and never imagined it could be so nice and comfortable. Afterwards, I joked with my friends that I felt I spent the night at a four-star hotel in terms of the wonderful people, great service and the good quality of the facility.

    The next morning, I was recovered. My calcium level dropped down to 8 from the record of 12.7 before the surgery. I had a normal breakfast and left the hospital. I even stopped by the store to pick up the prescribed TUMs (Calcium) on the way home. During the first couple of days, I felt groggy from the anesthesia. I experienced a minor sore throat from the breathing tube used during surgery and some numbness on my neck and the side of my face. I also felt tingling of the lips and fingers. However, once I took a couple pieces of the TUMs, the tingling feeling went away immediately. Dr. Yeh provides his patients with a detailed post-surgery list, including activity, returning to work, medications, scar, bathing, etc. I followed the instructions and had my first shower two days after. All was fine. Starting on the second day of the surgery, I was able to get up and do shopping, cooking and cleaning… It has been almost two months now. The scar is small and invisible. The foggy mind is gone. The skin is much less itchy and the heaviness disappeared. Now I feel more alert and energetic. Thank you Dr. Yeh!

    Dr. Yeh leads an incredible team. He sets a high bar for his team. They, together, made it happen. From the schedulers, the care workers, the nurses, the anesthesiologists, and to his assistant Jennifer, they are all friendly, patient, and professional. They always do the best they can, especially Jennifer. She was always available. No matter how many questions I had or how basic the questions were, she was always patient and kind enough to carefully explain until I understood. She has never forgotten once to return my calls. Jennifer is also sharp and well experienced. She could quickly capture what I wanted to ask and provide me with the appropriate explanations and suggestions. Her dedication, professionalism and kindness perfectly reflect the high expectations Dr. Yeh sets for his team. During the entire process, I had gone through a number of mental and emotional stages from being panicked, frightened, worried, and anxious to becoming eager to learn everything possible related to the syndromes, the side effects, the potential treatments, the surgery procedures, the post-surgery recovery… Dr. Yeh, his assistant Jennifer and the rest of the team were there with me at each of the stages. Thank you all!

    Dr. Yeh is not just one of the best surgeons in America but also a wonderful human being. I am deeply impressed by his spirit, dedication, professionalism, and compassion for what he does and his patients… When you meet him, you will quickly find he is bright and witty, but still down to earth and an easy going guy…… Right before I started writing this letter, I did search online and was not surprised of what I found: “Dr. Yeh studied at Harvard and Stanford, international fellowshipped at Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney, Australia, published 50 scholarly articles and book chapters, and established the UCLA Endocrine Surgery department.” Dr. Yeh is an expert in minimally invasive parathyroid surgery, thyroid cancer, and adrenal tumors. Dr. Yeh is excellent and has been highly recommended by countless people and numerous supporting groups across the country. I am honored to recommend Dr. Yeh to anyone afflicted with the same disease.

  7. Mrs. Phillips says:

    In 1995 I had a subtotal thyroidectomy for a euthyroid, multinodular goiter and was on levothyroxine for about 16 years. It was around November 2011 when I noticed a growth in my neck. My primary care physician had been monitoring my blood tests and ultrasound results but I eventually developed symptoms of hyperthryroidism (unbeknownst to me and my doctor) which caused me to feel pretty lousy for quite some time. I had even seen a cardiologist and radiologist (for nuclear testing) which did not change the care I received until I started seeing a UCLA endocrinologist. I received a diagnosis of mild Grave’s disease in 2012 by my endocrinologist. She had treated me with methimazole and propranolol and within a few days I felt like my old self again (i.e. energetic and healthy). Later in 2012, I had a fine needle biopsy and ultrasound of my thyroid and was advised to continue regular check-ups at UCLA, and to continue my meds. By December 2012, I was able to stop both meds and felt just great.

    Subsequent routine follow-ups, however, revealed further growth of my gland, which included multiple nodules. I was advised to see Dr. Michael Yeh in May 2013 and it was at this visit that I decided that if I were to require thyroid surgery, Dr. Yeh would be my choice. Dr. Yeh is a kind, caring, confident and excellent surgeon. We discussed the option of surgery but decided that I would not have it at this time. Between this visit and my surgery consultation in February 2014, however, I had noticed further growth of my gland. We decided that I would have surgery within 4 weeks. Being that I am a patient who lives 5,500 miles away from Los Angeles, Dr. Yeh was considerate and accommodated an earlier surgery date, which was within 1 week of my consultation. This was an amazing feat to accomplish as he has an extremely busy schedule. I truly appreciated his team’s effort to accommodate me.

    During my consultation appointment, he explained that he would perform a laryngoscopy to see if I had an obstruction. The procedure was painless and quick. He was thorough in his explanation of what he would be removed and the potential risks that could result from this type of surgery. This reaffirmed my impression of Dr. Yeh…that he is a great doctor and I was in excellent hands.

    On the day of my surgery, I shared with my husband that I had no hesitation or “fear” because I had so much confidence with Dr. Yeh’s skill, knowledge and expertise. The anesthesiologist and resident who visited with me prior to surgery were thorough and explained what medications I would be given. They too spoke highly of Dr. Yeh, which reaffirmed what I already knew…that I was in excellent hands. I do not remember being in the OR…all I remember is being wheeled down the hallway en route to the OR and then being in recovery and getting checked by Dr. Yeh. He reassured me that I would never have my thyroid growth again. That was like music to my ears.

    Most surprising differences to me between my first surgery and this surgery are that with this surgery I did not lose my voice or have symptoms of hypocalcemia. I also was able to turn my head 180 degrees shortly after surgery and felt more energetic within 2 weeks. I also returned to work sooner. The only symptoms that I experienced post-op that were bothersome was neck muscle pain and swelling around the incision site. The neck pain subsided after about a week (a few doses of ibuprofen helped tremendously) and the swelling around my incision was completely gone after about 10 days. My scar looks pretty good and I expect it to fade nicely.

    I would like to thank Jennifer, my nurse practitioner. She was a great help. She had assisted in prescribing my maintenance medication and discharged me the next day. She also answered any questions/concerns I had. Dr. Sheila Ahmadi is also a very great endocrinologist. She quickly diagnosed my hyperthyroid disease, treated me and referred me to Dr. Yeh. Thank you!

    Overall, my surgery experience and post-op care at the UCLA Medical Center was excellent. I am 6-weeks post-op, back to work and all my routines. I want to thank Dr. Yeh again for the excellent care he gave me and I highly recommend him and his team to thyroid patients who require surgery. You will be extremely pleased with the outcome!

    Mrs. Phillips
    A very satisfied patient

  8. Sousan hakimrabet says:

    My mom had surgery with Dr. Amazing Yeh that we thankful for it, wish the best for him!

  9. Brandie Johnson says:

    My name is Brandie Johnson and I had the pleasure of meeting with Dr. Avital Harari.

    From beginning to end was great experience with her. She was amazing! Before meeting with her I had been dealing with hyper and hypothyroid disease and also I have Graves disease. After 3 years of dealing with all the symptoms that come along with Graves disease, I considered surgery. From the first visit with Dr. Harari she was all smiles and educated me on if I chose surgery, what would most likely be the outcome. She would draw a diagram of what my thyroid looks like a what would be removed. Dr. Harari never rushed on our visits and always asked me if I had any questions she could answer. To be totally honest, if I had not met Dr. Harari I might not have followed through with surgery. She has a great energy when you meet her and she was highly recommended by my Endocronologist and my Internal Medicine doctor. Her Nurse Practioner, Jennifer was also great as well! She always returned my calls and accommodated my questions and concerns.

    My fiance’ was nervous for me to have the surgery until he met Dr. Harari the day of surgery. She was so vibrant and positive. When she walked out the room he said “I feel confident after talking to her”.

    Post surgery has been great! A few days after surgery I was up a moving around the house and feeling like the “old me” again.I did not think I would be this mobile so soon. It has been almost 3 weeks and I havent had any issues. My scar looks great and I am looking forward to it getting better in the future.

    On the last visit I recently had with Dr. Harari to follow up post surgery. I asked her if this was my last time seeing her she said “yes”. I told her I could always have a visit with her because of her energy and knowledge. She is a amazing doctor. I cant thank her enough…

    Sincerely,

    Very Happy Patient (Brandie Johnson)

  10. Anonymous says:

    While dealing with several other cancers, it seems a scan found “funny looking cells” in my Thyroid. Dr Yeh surgically removed portion of the thyroid and the pathology showed no cancer.I went to an endocrinologist upon Dr. Yeh’s suggestion. Blood work showed that no medication is warranted, so I am s happy camper, and finish with radiation for my breast cancer tomorrow!!!!

  11. Christina Pasco says:

    I was referred to Dr. Yeh by an outstanding endocrinologist when an MRI of my spine coincidentally showed a mass on my thyroid. My endoc said he would be her doctor of choice. Now I know why! From my first contact to final post op appointment, Dr Yeh and his staff were outstanding. Dr Yeh and his entire staff put me at ease and were informative and supportive through the whole process.

    During my hospital stay from check-in through pre-op and post surgery, all nurses, doctors and observing doctors were positive and supportive. Thank you to all who made the surgery process so much less stressful by treating me like a family member instead of a patient number!

    • Liz O'Howell says:

      I had my total thyroidectomy in 2006, with Dr. Yeh being my surgeon. It always brings a smile to my face to read so many thankful patients leaving wonderful comments on this blog. I agree, Dr. Yeh has that certain gift, we feel less like a patient, and more like a member of his family!

  12. Jessica Huster from China says:

    My name is Jessica, I am an engineer that spent the past 10 years working in China managing an equipment manufacture company. I come back to the states two or three times a year with a hectic schedule. I have had breast cancer and was under Dr. Helena Chang’s care, had lumpectomy March of 2012. I planned to be back for a yearly check up after attending a semiconductor equipment show in San Francisco. Just before I left for the state side July 4th, I discovered the nodule on my right thyroid. I was so scared because I thought the breast cancer might have spread to the thyroid area. I moved my appointment with Dr. Chang forward to the 16th and she referred me to Dr. Yeh. Knowing my flight leaves on July 31st, I was scheduled to see him the very next day, 17th.
    Many people posted about how well they were cared for. I want to add to the perspective of how efficient Dr. Yeh and his team were. Dr. Yeh and Jen (NP) confirmed that there is a 4cm thyroid nodule. He informed me with the necessary numbers so I can make my decision (engineers like numbers :) I have decided to remove it.
    He checked his schedule and said to Jen, the only day we can fit her in is tomorrow. Can we do it? They did it!!!!! Surgery was performed successfully the next day.
    I had a blood test and talked to a surgery coordinator who briefed me on what to do and what not to do. The insurance office is on the east coast so they had to call the next morning to get confirmation. The anesthesiologists had to be coordinated. Seams impossible, but they did it. SEAMLESSLY! Note he had the schedule at his finger tips, when he made the decision. His team supported him to get everything ready. I am so impressed by the professional competence of Dr. Yeh and his staff. You know I bring Chinese visitors here and they are impressed by Universal studio, Disneyland and Sea World. I am more impressed by UCLA medical center and Dr. Yeh and his staff ! Although it is not necessary to be in this hurry normally, you know if you ever needed it, they have got the Right Stuff! It shows how much they care to go out of their way to accommodate me.
    I know I am in good hands. Thank you from the bottom of my heart! God bless you and your staff!

  13. Anonymous says:

    I am a 47 year old woman. I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes about 14 years ago. The symptoms for this condition were clear and indisputable–fairly sudden weight loss, constant thirst and an almost as constant need to urinate, strange feelings of sluggishness, blurry vision–but as soon as I made it into an endocrinologist’s office, it was discovered that I also had at least one thyroid nodule, large enough that each thyroid specialist who saw it told me I should have surgery immediately. I resisted. Having just been diagnosed with diabetes, I felt I had enough variables to contend with. I’m also a strong believer in pursuing alternative healthcare as much as is reasonable. I’m a yoga practitioner, receive acupuncture when I can, eat a diet of crickets and kale (not really, but you get the idea). My point of this long winded story is this–the doctors I talked to in 1999 initially told me that I was “stupid” (their actual word) for not having my whole thyroid out immediately–this is a word I cannot imagine coming out of Dr. Yeh’s mouth. Within the first few moments of meeting him, you realize Dr. Yeh exudes competence. He also has a kind, intelligent bedside manner (even employing occasional quips). He knew how to set a somewhat outside-the-box patient (one who had waited 14 years to have a procedure done!) at ease and encourage me to follow through. He presented me with options: I could have a total thyroidectomy (he favored this option) or a partial thyroidectomy (the option I chose).

    The nodule that was removed was about the size of a golf ball (5.5 cm); a second nodule was removed on the isthmus. The surgery went smoothly. I had a “motion sickness” response to the anesthesia so could not leave the hospital that night. Dr. Yeh came to say hello after the surgery and told my mom and me it had gone well. My hospital stay was comfortable and uneventful–the new UCLA hospital in Santa Monica was lovely and the food was much better than I’d anticipated (I was REALLY nervous before the procedure–I REALLY didn’t want to be in the hospital). The next morning I went home. Within a couple of days, I was going for walks and driving. I got tired easily for about the first week, and waited 2 weeks before going back to my normal exercise routine. Now it is about two months later. The scar is visible but fading fast. I’ve been doing neck exercises a few times a day to stretch out the places that felt stiff after surgery. Other people have mentioned a soreness and sense of fullness in the neck in the weeks after surgery. I think the exercises helped a lot–and I have been able to schedule fairly regular massages (I think this has aided my recovery –though the massage person did not even touch the area where surgery was performed for the first few weeks). Actually, I feel BETTER than I felt before (amazing what having a 5.5 cm mass removed from your neck will do). I breathe more easily; I don’t feel as constricted; I swallow more easily. My throat was a bit sore for longer than I expected (I’m just now feeling truly OK and it’s been about 7 weeks) from the air tube they inserted during surgery. I’m still waiting to find out how my thyroid function is, but I feel great. (The nodule, as large as it was, was benign, thank goodness, but the only way to find out for sure was to remove it.)

    I feel lucky to have met Dr. Yeh, lucky that he was my doctor and feel gratitude to everyone at UCLA Medical Center. The only glitch that I experienced was an occasional difficulty with paperwork. I think they are digitizing the system and there was an occasionally eerie problem of important paperwork gone missing (for instance no consent forms when I was practically in the OR–but I brought hard copies of everything). When I told Dr. Yeh about the paperwork issue at my follow up appointment saying, “You don’t really need to know about that,” he said, “I want to know everything about how the experience was for you.” Wow! There was also a problem with my insurance company– they initially denied coverage, saying they needed more information. I brought this to the attention of the folks at UCLA and the problem was resolved almost immediately.

    I don’t know if I would have had this important surgery done were it not for Dr. Yeh. He’s pretty great. I recommend him unreservedly.

  14. Anonymous says:

    My name is Sandy, and I’m a 36 year old veterinarian. I knew I had a thyroid nodule about 7 years ago when I was having some hyperthyroid symptoms – increased hunger, nervousness, insomnia, and some weight loss. I had a lot of stuff going on at the time, so that combined with a doctor that wouldn’t return my calls, I ignored the problem and lucky for me the symptoms largely went away after about half a year. I continued to ignore it until last year – I know, terrible – when I moved to LA and my new PCP felt my nodule and was alarmed by the size. She recommended that I get an ultrasound, and the nodule was around 5cm, and I had multiple smaller ones in the right side. I had aspirates done of the two largest, and luckily they came back benign. (Swallowing was actually painful / uncomfortable for about a week after the aspirate. I took advil for a couple of days.) I was still a little hyperthyroid on my bloodwork, so I had an uptake scan done that showed that my nodules were producing thyroid hormone unregulated. So considering those results, plus the size of my largest nodule, plus some miscarriages last year that were possibly related, and Dr. Yeh’s recommendation, I had a total thyroidectomy performed about 5 weeks ago. I was nervous, since I’d never had general anesthesia before, and I knew from previous experience that I had a bad time with a particular narcotic pain med. But all in all it wasn’t too terrible. I had a different narcotic pain med right after I woke up from the anesthesia, and I had a similar bad time (room spinning, vomiting), so I just went without afterwards and it honestly wasn’t too bad, only moderate pain. I think Advil would have helped, but they recommended against it, so I tried Tylenol which didn’t help at all. But after day 3 I didn’t even need anything anymore. I probably had low blood calcium for 4-5 days after surgery (I had tingly fingers and lips), so I ended up taking a lot more Tums supplements than they originally recommended, but luckily I didn’t worry since the directions on what to do if I got tingly were all in the to-go instructions. After a week it went away. Swallowing was painful for about a week, uncomfortable for another week, and now 5 weeks out it still feels “tight”, but it’s not bad. I was particularly concerned about scarring, since I’m of asian descent and form keloids (really large reddish and itchy scars), but I told Dr. Yeh about it beforehand so he took precautions and my scar looks about as good as I could have hoped! It’s amazing! The area around the incision protrudes a little, and the area feels a little numb and uncomfy if I touch it, but otherwise barely red. I thought my voice was normal after surgery, but I have noticed that it’s not quite like it was. My voice cracks like a teenaged boy and doesn’t project at all if I try to yell (didn’t need to do that until I was trying to get my husband’s attention at Disneyland), and I can’t sing anymore (but I only did that in the car anyways), but I feel like it’s getting better every week. I thought I would gain weight after surgery, and Dr. Yeh warned that I might, but luckily I haven’t. All in all, a very nice experience! I see an endocrinologist now, and she confirmed that since we’re trying to have more kids, surgery really was the best choice.

  15. Beth West says:

    I was lucky and did not have these side effects…. After the surgery I immediately was put on 100 mcg of Levothyroxine and when I went to the endocrinologist to have my blood checked he said all levels were good so I am still on that dosage….. I am a bit tired but I work full time and I think it is just my natural state!

  16. Nicole says:

    My name is Nicole and I was 29 years old when I had half of my thyroid removed about 8 months ago in June 2012 by Dr. Yeh.
    I was diagnosed with a multi-nodular goiter more than 10 years ago. There was no cancer but I was hyperthyroid for a very long time. I put off the surgery for years and wish I had gotten it much sooner.
    Although I am still a little tired, I feel way better overall. No more anxiety, shaking, or feeling like I am going to pass out and I just feel more normal. Regular tasks like chores aren’t as daunting.
    Prior to deciding to have surgery I was worried about becoming hypothyroid because the other half of my thyroid is so small (why my other side got so large). But my endorcrinologist said that being hyper is bad for the heart and one could die early because of this – that woke me up and I realized that my anti-thyroid meds were not working, I felt terrible all the time, and surgery was the best thing to do.
    I did become hypothyroid after surgery, but am okay with it. At first it was hard feeling tired (but I felt tired prior anyway), the synthroid eventually helps you feel better…it took a few months and I am still working on finding the right dosage, it is a process. I thought I would gain a lot of weight and things like that, but actually ended up losing a decent amount. At first I lost a lot of hair (didn’t expect that) which is a side effect of synthroid at first and going hypo…but after a couple of months that stopped. So, it is possible to be normal after surgery and if you are very hyperthyroid, I would highly recommend the surgery. I feel that if I had done the surgery sooner, then I could have had a better quality of life in my 20s.
    Dr. Yeh made me feel at ease during the consultation and surgery. He is everything you could ask for in a surgeon. He is very friendly and great at what he does. My scar is not bad considering the size of what they had to take out. It is way better having a little scar than a huge goiter that made me very self conscious, but most people never noticed it. I never once worried that something would go wrong during surgery or after, Dr. Yeh and his team do tons of these surgeries per week.
    It wasn’t a very fast recovery for me but in two weeks I felt ready to go back to work. You can get a very sore throat just for a couple days after surgery, a stiff neck, and feel a little numb for a little while in the area but it really is not that uncomfortable. Extra strength Tylenol did the job. The hard part for me was the change in hormone levels. My voice did not change and the track record with Dr. Yeh here is excellent.
    If you need surgery and have the chance to get it done by Dr. Yeh, you should definitely go with him. You will be very happy.

  17. Bethamy K. West says:

    I had a total thyroidectomy on Nov. 27, 2012 after dealing with a nodule that had doubled in size in two years. After several fine needle biopsies, it was determined that the nodule could be cancerous. In addition, other nodules, although benign, were found on the other side. Both my endocrinologist and Dr. Avital Harari, a confident, friendly, angel, left it up to me to decide whether I wanted a partial or total thyroidectomy. Since we would have needed to watch the remaining nodules carefully, and since I might have had to have those taken out at a later date, I opted to do the total at this time. Suffice it to say, my experience with Dr. Harari and the staff at Santa Monica-UCLA was exemplary. I did not have to stay over night and was, therefore, in the “short-stay” part of the hospital. Everyone could not have been more caring, from the parking attendant at 5:00 a.m. to the admissions staff to the pre-op nurse, the anesthesiology team, the OR nurse, the recovery nurses and everyone else. Post surgery, I did not have a sore throat, my voice was back to normal immediately, my scar is barely noticeable (Dr. Harari had stated that she was “anal” about trying not to leave a visible scar, and, believe me, partly, I suppose, because I had lines in my neck already there is virtually no scar) After a few days at home, I was ready to go shopping for holiday presents….got a bit tired…but was not debilitated. I took Vicodin for two days, Tylenol for two days, and nothing after that. If surgery can be a good experience, this was it!!! I thank the entire Endocrine Surgery department for making my whole experience the very best it could be.

    • Patti says:

      I am facing my second biopsy next Friday. I am 58 years old. After 20 years of migraines a cat scan & ultra sound were scheduled noting 5 Nodules on my thyroid. Biopsy done 4/2 showed irregularities after using 8 syringes & a great deal of vascular fluid. Second biopsy scheduled for 4/19. Endocrinologist suggested searching for a qualified surgeon ASAP. The weight gain, exhaustion, & depression are another concerns. How are you dealing with these side effects?

  18. Brenda says:

    Did my thyroid biopsy twice in July and September, 1st one came back inconclusive and then 2nd came back benign. I’m pleased it is good news. So then I went to see my ENT consultant on Wednesday, he said all is fine but I’ll have to come back again for ultrasound and biopsy in 4 to 6 months to see if my enlarge tumor may changing or bigger?!! And if it grew bigger, he’ll have to remove my Tumor…. But why I must follow up repeat?

    • Anonymous says:

      Hi Brenda – I noticed a small lump on the right side of my throat when putting on my moisturizer. After a few months of not knowing if it was my imagination or not I deceided to go and have it checked by my MD. She sent me to the endocrinologist, he sent me for ultra sound and it came back a 3cm nodule on the right side. I was sent for biopsy and the findings were inconclusive. My nodule was mostly solid and I was urged to remove that side of my nodule rather than wait and re-biopsy. I had the surgery on April 11 and turns out it was benign. I thank God for that. I just wonder if I should have just waited, re-checked every 4-6 months and not had the surgery. My thyroid function is somewhat low right now but they will just monitor for now. I’m a 57 year old paralegal from Los Angeles, California

  19. Genuinely no matter if someone doesn’t understand then its up to other people that they will
    help, so here it occurs.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Well, after having my first baby my thyroid went out of wack. I lost a drastic amount of weight and noticed my very high heart rate. After seeing my G.P. she recommened me to see an endocrimologist the next day. Blood tests revealed that I had hyper-thyroid and possible graves disease due to auto-immune antibodies. I chose to try methimazole and that worked for about 9 months, but then my liver began to struggle, so my only choice was radiation or surgery. Not feeling comfortable with radiation, I chose to read and research about surgery. Because of the comments people had written here, and his background, I chose to visit Dr. Yeh and UCLA. I highly recommend surgery here. The organization of the hospital, the nurses, and the doctors was fantastic making the day and a half spent here on my total thyroidectomy the best possible.
    Of course, I had the rollercoaster of emotions that come with surgery, but it was the only option for me, and post-surgery, I can say it couldn’t have worked out any better. I am now on Synthroid ffor the remainder of my life but feel normal as far as I can tell. It’s been 3 months post and my body is back to it’s normal self. I have no complaints. The scar is minimal and healed pretty quickly and i was lucky to not have any issues with loss of voice or nerve damage. Thanks UCLA and DR. Yeh’s team for such a successful surgery.

  21. Rock Ollia says:

    Having survived breast cancer I was terrified when I felt a huge swelling and lump on my neck for which my primary care physician immediately had me undergo an ultrasound. A large mixed solid mass was discovered on one side of my thryroid, a smaller on the other. Cancer was definitely on everyone’s minds.

    And on reflection I realized the large massd was the reason my throat had efffectivly closed up a few weeks before when compression “stuck” my throat together while I was eating a lentil! I couldn’t breath! Not a bit. Alone and terrified I finally slipped drops of water down into my throat which “unglued” it allowing me to again breath. I did not want to risk such a scare again.

    So, upon discussion with my primary and Dr. Yeh, the smart, kind, direct and communicative surgeon she referred me to, I opted to go directly to a total thyroidectomy. Cancerous or not, the nodules were only going to grow more and compress my throat more if I chose to let them stay. The biopsy was done at the time of surgery and to my relief the masses were not cancerous. Which made me and Dr. Yeh very happy.

  22. Leslie says:

    In March 2012 an MRI showed a large mass on my left thyroid nodule, Dr. Yeh was recommended to me by my endrocrinologist, and my experience with Dr. Yeh was excellent. During my consultation he answered the many questions I had and I felt very confident about his skill and experience. I had a left thyroid lobectomy May, and the surgery went very well. The nurses, anesthesiologists, and doctors were great and I was able to go home the same day. The scar is healing nicely and will hopefullly be all but invisible in a few more months/year.

  23. James Chen says:

    Hello:

    My name is James Chen, I was Dr. Yeh’s patient.

    He was very friendly and detailed when we met him for the first time at UCLA. I was very impressive with his team and his warm smile.

    I told my only daughter to be like Dr. Yeh such a kind, loving and care person.

  24. Diane says:

    My name is Diane and I am 47. Here are the steps to my total thyroidectomy:

    Primary doctor: Exactly this time last year I had my usual summer allergies but they were worse this time. I saw my primary doctor at UCLA because I had trouble breathing and I was coughing a lot. She prescribed 2 inhalers to help with my “asthma type” symptoms. The coughing got so bad that I put my hand on my neck and that is when I felt a lump. I dismissed it thinking I pulled a muscle or something. I forgot about it and then felt it again the next week. My coughing didn’t stop so I went back to my doctor and told her about the lump. Before finding this lump, all of my blood work for my thyroid has been normal. I didn’t have a hypo or hyperthyroid.

    Ultrasound: She immediately walked me over to have an ultrasound on my neck. Sure enough, there was a nodule on my thyroid. The next step was to get a biopsy.

    Biopsy: I was kind of freaked out because I never had a biopsy before on anything. It didn’t hurt but it took longer than I thought because I didn’t realize that I had 5-6 nodules, not one.
    After the biopsy, my neck was a little stiff. I could have driven home by myself but it was nice to have a friend come with me for emotional and physical support.

    Endocrinologist: The next step was a consultation with an endocrinologist at UCLA. The biopsy showed that all of the nodules were benign expect one had a follicular lesion. There was a 5-15% chance of it being cancerous. Another nodule was a lot bigger than the others and growing. Their recommendation was surgery. They told me that the surgeon would probably take the nodules out, examine them while I was under, if they were benign then they would not need to remove my thyroid. I didn’t like the idea of surgery but was happy that I would get to keep my thyroid!!!

    Surgery consultation: This was the hard part. I met with Dr. Yeh with my husband for a consultation. I went in the consultation with a hope/expectation of keeping my thyroid. Dr. Yeh recommended a total thyroidectomy. I was not ready to hear this. I explained that the endocrinologist told me that he could examine the nodules during the surgery. He explained that if I just removed the nodules there would be a very high chance that I would have to come in for a second surgery in the future and he did not want to see me go through that. He may have said more because I was in shock that I had to have it removed. Even with all that going through my head, my husband and I knew I was in good hands and Dr. Yeh. We just knew that I was in good hands.

    This is the good part about the consulation: While Dr. Yeh was waiting for his intern to do a quick ultrasound on my neck, he asked my husband a couple of questions and they found out that they have a mutual friend. They made small talk for a couple of minutes. During that time all I could think was if he can talk to my husband like this, he must not be very concerned about this surgery. That calmed my insides down a lot.

    Surgery: Surgery went very well. I knew beforehand that I would have to stay overnight if there were any complications but I was in and out in less than 8 hours. I had NO issues with my voice returning to normal. A month later the results came back totally benign on all nodules.

    Post-Surgery: I took vicoden for about a week. After that, I took Advil as needed. I knew it was important to move my head as much as possible so it wouldn’t get stiff. Taking showers was kind of a pain for about a month because I wanted to be very careful not to get the stitches wet. If I remember correctly, I was comfortable driving after 2 weeks – I was hoping that it would be 1 week but I was extra cautious.

    Taking medication for the rest of my life: It has been 8 months since my surgery. It took about 3 blood tests/visits to get the right dosage. It wasn’t too off – just needed to be tweaked. With this adjustment came a little hair loss, crying spells (but not mood swings). I can’t think of any other symptoms right now. It took about 6 months for my scar to be totally unnoticeable – I have very fair skin. It took about 4 months to get used to the fact that I would have to be on medication for the rest of my life. I really didn’t like it one bit. But now I am grateful that I am healthy for my husband, my son and myself.

    I hope this was helpful to someone. You are in good hands with Dr. Yeh!

    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you for your step by step, I am a very worried working mum of three boys, and was really wondering if there were other treatments to avoid surgery as you explained. Although you had to face reality, and so must I, But at least I can have my cry in private, and not in front of the doctor or mostly my children. But at least I have time to get into a positive mind set thank you again for being able to get a look at what lay ahead for me – this really helped and minimized the worry, its the not knowing what is going on or going to happen that is the most stressful.

      • Diane says:

        Hi,
        My son is only five and I freaked out because “who will take care of him”. I think I worried about my family more than I worried about the surgery. Cry when you need to!!! It is good to get it out (like you said, not in front of the boys). If you have surgery, get a good support system in place to make sure their lives are not disrupted for a couple of weeks.

        FYI, I had a c-section 5 years ago and having thyroid surgery was a little more painful for about a week. My neck is a lot more sensitive than my stomach.

        If you need a second or third opinion, go get it. But if Dr. Yeh is your doctor, my recommendation is to trust his expert consultation.

        You will go through this just fine. Afterwards, you will have a testimony to share with the next person going through this :)

  25. tina says:

    went to the drs for mri and they found 2 nodules on my thyroid i go for a bio on monday, kind of worried ,

    • Anonymous says:

      I pray that everything is ok for you.. ,Im also so worried for my daughter who was sent to the hospital by a dr. she had seen on 8/3/12 for the results on her bloodwork she had done prior to her visit, she has a lump on her neck,they don’t know if it is a cyst or tumor,and don’t know if it is cancerous,im trying to be strong for her but it’s so hard not to cry,she has two little boys who catch her looking sad ,but don’t understand…..
      Cindy a worried mom.

      • tina says:

        well i had my appointment and everything came back normal, i still have the odules on my thyroid they told me not to worry unless they bother me, and i know your daughter will be fine too i will keep her in my prayers, i know how scarey this can be

        • Cora Kelley says:

          You are a specially blessed smart woman! It’s always a wise move to listen to and trust your medical team. They are the professionals. You go by your instincts as well as trust your judgment after a profound in-depth probe on your best options to meet the appropriate medical intervention your body needs, and after hearing what your medical team tells you.

      • Cora Kelley says:

        You were blessed with top-of-the line medical team, you have made one of life’s best decisions and taken a great attitude to heal, and the Ultimate Healer has worked faithfully with your medical team and with you throughout the ordeal.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Hi, I have been unwell for the last year, low mood, low energy, confusion, headaches, aches and pains and weight gain. I was put on antidepressants and continued to feel unwell. My Gp was on holiday so I saw a new Dr. bloods were taken and I had a thyroid level of 2.5, Tsh leval 300 and was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism. I started thyroxine.My Caluim level is low so have been put on calcium tablets. My Vitamin D level is normal but my Parathyroid level 8.9. Can you please advise me is this normal? Kind regards, Michelle

  27. Jacki says:

    Hi. I’m a 41 year old female with a multinodular goiter and diagnosed with Hashimotos. I had a FNA done today on a 2cm cold nodule with solid and cystic properties. I had surgery nearly 2 years ago to remove a 15mm lung nodule that proved to be a carcinoid neuroendocrine tumor. I am waiting until affter the holiday weekend to learn the pathology results of my biopsy.I would be grateful to hear from anyone who may know if my past history with the tumor increases the likelihood that this nodule is cancerous. Thank you!

  28. Maureen says:

    I had a noldule that kept growing for 10 years. After having numerous biopsies and it reaching 5cm, I saw Dr. Harari for a surgery consult. We agreed that a complete throidectomy was the best answer and since I have now recovered I am very happy with the decision. She listened to my concerns and delt with each one. I cannot say enough good things about her professionalism and ability as a surgeon. The nurses in the OR and ICU were wonderful. I can’t say the same about the recovery floor nurses. They must have been very busy.
    My throat was very sore for 5 days from the tube. Chloresceptic spray helped. Make sure you get the prescriptions filled before hand. Thank goodness my son was there to purchase them for me. My fingers were tingling so several hours later and lab work that came back fine for my calcium level, the resident called the doctor on duty. She said it was probably pinched nerves from strapping your arms down during surgery. My levels have been fine since and the tingling went away after several days. I would highly recommend Dr. Harari to anyone needing surgery.

    • Anonymous says:

      Im very happy for you!! Can you give me the adress to the Dr who did your surgery,my daughter is going through testing on a lump she has on her neck that might be a tumor according to a Dr she visited.
      Thank you a worried mom.

      • Anonymous says:

        Dr. Michael Yeh
        UCLA Medical Center
        10833 LeConte Ave, 72-182 CHS
        Los Angeles, CA 90095
        Phone: 310/825-8947

  29. Janice Wyrick says:

    My name is Janice I am 61 years old. I live in Harbor City, California.At first my weight drop down to 85lbs and I was diagnosed and treated for diabetes. I started having eye problems and went to several eye doctors before I was diagnosed with Graves disease a doctor in Santa Monica, referred me to the eye specialist at UCLA Westood the Jules Doris & Stein Eye Clinic. Then that DR. referrerd me to the Gonda Diabetes Endocrinology, Hypertention Center at UCLA. After taking many tests I was refered to Dr. Harari. Dr. Harari examined me and right away in the office she did a ultrasound, and then sent me to have a biopsy. After the results I was told I had a suspicious tumor and it needed to be removed. Dr. Harari was very kind considerate, caring, and comforting. I felt she was very professional showing concern and compassion explaing what to expect after during and after surgery. I really appreciated her making sure before surgery I had the right medication which I had a hard time finding. She did a great job on my surgery and my family was very satisfied with her taking care of me. Thank you DR.Harari.

  30. Stephanie says:

    I, too, am a huge fan of D. Yeh’s. (My husband refers to him as “Dr.YAY”!) What a delightful gentleman!

    I have been wrestling with enlarged and numerous nodules for over 10 years. I told Dr. Yeh that I’ve been waiting for him for ten years! He is not only adept as a surgeon, he has the most wonderful and kind demeanor.

    One thing I would counsel anyone considering any kind of thyroid surgery is to discuss with either your endocrinologist or Dr. Yeh the need for prescriptions to be filled out before the surgery.

    In the hospital I was handed prescriptions that needed to be filled for the Calcitriol and the stool softener. After an uncomfortable night, the last thing I wanted to do was wait at the pharmacy and it was also a Saturday.

    By Monday, my body felt like I had just gotten the electric chair! I raced to the endo and the blood work showed I was extremely low in Calcium. I then raced to get the prescription and, even after I had taken the Calcium, my extremities, even m nose, were still tingling. I just hope that no permanent damage was done.

    Other than this snafu, my experience with Dr. Yeh could not have been more positive. He is pure pleasure.

    I must also say that his handiwork is amazing. It’s been three months and I have seen great improvements on the scar area. My voice is still a bit raspy but I have faith that it, too will return to normal.

    Thank you, Dr. YAY!

  31. Maggie says:

    My name is Maggie and I am a 38 year old stay-at-home mom. I had had an enlarged thyroid since the age of 25; the function had always been within normal limits and I had no symptoms. In fact, in the last few years I have felt the best in my life losing 35 lbs, exercising more regularly and have completed 5 Half-Marathons. So, last summer when my primary doctor discussed my thyroid options, I was very content to stay on the “let’s continue to wait for it to shut down on it’s own” path. The u/s showed a nodule, however, and I was referred to an endocrinologist. I met with Dr. Reddy and she did another u/s in her office that showed my thyroid was 2 1/2 times its normal size and now had two nodules; I was scheduled for FNA. In the meantime, I really began to pay more attention to my body and realized that I was not really symptom free. I was having compression symptoms that had come on so slowly over the years that I didn’t really notice them. I had difficulty swallowing (often choking on liquids which is a weird thing to explain), my voice would get fatigued and I had to sleep in a specific position. I was already beginning to lean towards the thyroidectomy when I went for the FNA. I am not embarrased to admit that the discomfort of the procedure tipped me over the edge; I never want to have six needles stuck in my throat again! When we discussed surgery I was referred to Dr. Yeh. She explained that she refers to him because he is the best surgeon and since my thryroid was so large that I should only see him. I am very glad that I did. He and his residents/fellow explained the procedure thoroughly and answered my & my husband’s questions. I explained to him that I was not really concerned about the surgery itself, but about making sure I wouldn’t get fat again (I know that sounds vain but I had worked really hard to get from a size 16 to an 8). He assured me that I could be running just a few days after surgery. The surgery went perfectly and I had zero complications; not even a scratchy voice. I spent the night in the hospital and was discharged the next morning. Two days later I worked out, though I didn’t run because the steri-strips pulled uncomfortably. I took my hormone replacement and calcium faithfully and felt great at my follow-up. Dr. Yeh, as previously mentioned by several others, has a wonderful disposition and never failed to say something kind to me, even asking about my husband and children during my post-op visit. It has now been three months since the surgery and the incision site, which had to be a bit larger than average because so was my thyroid, looks good. I have been protecting it from the sun and using Mederma. The only hiccup on the road to full recovery has been finding the right medication dose. I am now on a higher dose of the “regular” hormone replacement and a T3 replacement which has greatly increased my energy level. I am back to running 20-25 miles a week. While on the lower dose of medication, I did have very cold hands/feet, was very fatigued and didn’t run as far/fast, gained a few pounds despite not having an appetite, and was a bit irritable; however those symptoms have abated with the new regimine. My advice to anyone considering a thyroidectomy would be to pay attention to your body; know how you feel before so you can tell how you feel afterwards.

    • Ana Villarreal says:

      HI MY NAME IS ANA AND IM LOOKING FOR A GOOD PCP WHO CAN REFER ME TO DR.YEH ,IS BEING HARD FOR ME TO find some one inside ucla medical group that works along with Dr.yeh please if ypu know some one please send me a message, I have thyroid cancer and is matter of time to go under surgery.Thank you , if some body else can help me.

      • Maggie says:

        Hi Ana,
        I was referred to Dr Yeh through my endocrinologist, Dr R. Reddy, in Rancho Cucamonga. Maybe your oncologist or endocrinologist will be better able to do the referral than your PCP.
        Good luck!

  32. Cora Kelley says:

    For the caring thyroidectomy (total) surgery experience at UCLA, my profoundest appreciation and thanks to Dr, Michael Yeh and his wonderful staff.
    I thank God, for entrusting my medical care to them and for seeing them through the surgery successfully. I ask him to be with them, guiding and empowering them in every surgery they do, as they bring healing to people entrusted to their care.

    ‎”Life is never about proving people that you are a good person. Sometimes, the bad things matter. For in your dark side, you see people who are ready to light the road with you. It’s not how many your friends are, or how people roam around you, but it’s how few of them accepts your being you. For in your nothingness, people TRUE to you find reasons to love you still.”
    Dr. Michael Yeh, I’m strongly convinced, keeps a staff of members that meet the above… for team work with a staff glued with one purpose and direction can work miracles. Again, thank you to all the staff involved in my surgery.

    I returned for post surgery checkup on the 21st of November:
    When the doctor came in to ask how I was, I smiled up at him and said, “I’ve never been better, thank you. But I don’t know how I decided to entrust my life to a 16-year-old kid.” He looks really young, like he was one of my high school senior students.
    He laughed, “I’m 39!” Jennifer, Billie and I all smiled with him even wider.
    I thanked him and the nurse profusely after he said he was not seeing me anymore and that primary doctor will take over the rest of my medical follow up.

    My decision to go for the total thyroidectomy was a topnotch one. Preventing complication possibilities and/or malfunctions relative to the remaining thyroid, if I decided to keep one pushed me to deciding on total thyroidectomy; and the decision turned out to be a very smart decision. Thank you to Dr. Michael Yeh and my primary physician, Dr. Anil Daya, for counseling me to go for total thyroidectomy.

    Post surgery discomforts were tolerable, and here are the observation highlights:
    -suffering from the labors of constipation caused by the ingested drugs was worse than the pain from the throat lesion. I used laxatives to fix that problem after two days of HARD labor. I stopped ingesting Vicodin on the third day and opted for Tylenol the next day. On the 5th day, I stopped all pain medication.
    -the attacks of sweatiness in the morning hours in the first week dissipated from day-to-day. Currently, I occasionally break into sweats in the early mornings but momentarily only.
    -I observed the texture of my hair changed from thick and fluffy (I often received compliments on my hair) to soft and limp. What happened to one of my finer features? Now I have to labor on hair that used to give me no problems. (:
    Could this be a side effect of the Levothroid pill?
    -why do I feel jumpy when hungry? Is that a side effect of the Levothroid pill too?
    -with my voice, I can’t reach any high notes anymore. Will my voice eventually return to normal? I still can’t talk continuously. Half an hour of talking ends with an itchy throat. Or is this a reminder I talk too much?
    -swallowing food is not a struggle anymore; the dissipating pain that accompanies swallowing reminds me to go slow and savor what I’m eating.
    -the cold attacks and the impatience have not bothered me that much anymore, thanks to God!
    People are happier around me now.
    -My pillows seem like they are sprayed with sleep-inducers… sleeping comes easy.

    Happy New Year to Dr. Yeh and his staff! May you all live long healthy and happy lives!
    Again, my profoundest appreciation and thanks for your care and labors for me and for all your patients.

    • Martha says:

      It seems you recently had the thyroid surgery. My doctor suggested me to get a surgery because the medication is not working. I know you mentioned you have problems with your voice. What complications do you have know. Would you recommend me this surgery. Are you healthy now?

      • Anonymous says:

        This complete thyroidectomy has been one of the smartest decisions in my life. I feel I am on a steady road to recovery. I feel that my voice has returned to normal after two months and 26 days, although not yet 100%. But I’m self-confident when healing is complete, my voice will return to its original state. As in every surgery, time is essential in healing. Most of the symptoms of the ailment have been contained, except the occasional sweating; however, I noticed the sweating comes less frequent now; across time, the sweating gets milder too. My first post-surgery doctor consultation revealed very positive and hopeful results. Actually, health wise, and that includes emotional and mental, I feel as if I have significantly improved. From observation, even the efforts of keeping fit comes easier than before the surgery.

        The decision to go into surgery must be yours exclusively. My post-surgery empirical sharing comes as an opinion, not as an advise. Thank you for the expressed confidence anyway.

    • Ashley says:

      I had a partial thyroidectomy done in October and am feeling like my throat is being pushed on by something. Im wondering if its scar tissue or the other side swelling up, did you have any of these symptoms? Its been 4 months for me, and as much as I feel better, I almost wish i had the whole thyroid taken out, but was so nervous about taking the pills and gaining weight, etc. Just wondering if you had any complications or unnormal feelings. Please let me know

      • Anonymous says:

        Here is a list of discomforts felt after the surgery, discomforts that have disappeared or mellowed across time:
        -difficulty swallowing, particularly, meat and bread (gone)
        -difficulty talking and singing (voice back to normal, after three months; but talking duration is still regulated)
        -early morning sweating (mellowing across time)
        -cold spells (occasional)
        -stiff neck (gone)

        I’ve tried to follow a daily routine of taking my thyroid pills and vitamins. I also have an eating schedule that I faithfully follow. I also follow the indicated precautions attached to the thyroid pills, like taking it on an empty stomach and not ingesting food one hour after taking the pills; also avoiding Calcium products until after four hours taking the pills. In short, I have ensured I faithfully follow requirements to facilitate recovery. Whatever alarming observations I note, I write them down to discuss with my family doctor during my post-op consultations.

      • Isela says:

        How are you feeling now? Did you have to take hormone replacement?
        I’m due for a partial thyroidectomy!

  33. Anonymous says:

    Hello-I am 50 years old female and live in Ontario, Canada. I recently had two biopsies done of a 1.3 cm nodule on the right-side of my thyroid. The first one showed a-typical cells and the second showed them as normal. Previous ultrasounds of my thyroid showed both lobes of my thyroid as abnormal or suspicious. My endocrinologist told my years ago that I have Hashimoto’s disease. Consistent blood tests over the last 8 years indicate that my thyroid is still functioning. I have been told that I need thyroid surgery. I cannot decide whether to do a partial or full removal of my thyroid gland. Can anyone in a similar situation or who has gone through this before, offer any advice? I would really appreciate it.

    • Anonymous says:

      When I was jammed into the tough decision to fix my thyroid dilemma, I seriously considered researching my condition. In the education I got from my research and from the recommendations my doctors gave me in my consultations with them, i.e. after the diagnostic results that included the ultrasound came in, I decided the best option was to have a total thyroidectomy. There was no point fixing only one of the thyroids when the fear of having the other malfunction in time would still be there constantly worrying me. I don’t regret my decision.

      • Anonymous says:

        I also decided to go with the the total thyroidectomy to get rid of any future worries and another potential surgery. No regrets about my decision either! Luckily, I did not have the bad sore throat described by other patients. The evening of my surgery when I returned home I suffered from two bouts of vomitting. I never felt nauseous but could not keep the soup I had for supper ‘down’. A nurse friend of mine had informed me about nausea so my sister purchased Gravol for me before I returned home after my surgery. It worked wonders:) I only took the pain killer medication for two days and it helped me to sleep and rest. My voice returned from the day after my surgery but was a bit weak. Still can’t sing as yet but my voice is slowly returning to normal strength. I am curious though. Has anyone noticed if your blood pressure has increased since your thyroidectomy? Mine is now high – a problem I never had prior to my surgery.

        • Cora Kelley says:

          No doubt Dr. Yeh is top of the line, career wise and personality wise. I can say the same with his surgical staff. His soft-spoken, gentle ways invite patient trust and faith and reinforces courage under the knife. I cannot thank him enough. I will recommend him to all my family and friends who are suffering from the same ailment. But I do hope there would just be a handful! Seven months into recovery, I am a new thoroughbred! All post-surgery discomforts are gone. My voice is 100% back, and singing has never been better for me. The morning sweats and palpitations have been gradually eliminated by decreases in the dosage which started at 112 mg; degraded to 100 mg and now to 75mg. Every two months I checked with my family doctor, a wonderful and caring doctor. In my last doctor visit, my calcium has finally stabilized. And the best news is that I sleep like a log!.

  34. Anonymous says:

    My thryroid disease journey began about 4 years ago when I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease. I thought everything was under control with medication until last year when my primary doctor found a lump in my throat during a routine physical exam. I was referred to an endocrinologist (Dr X), who ordered more tests – ultrasounds and one FNA. It appeared that I had several tumors, but they neither grew nor shrunk in size, so Dr X told me that the medication had things in check. The FNA on the larger tumor proved to be inconclusive because calcification prevented the technician from obtaining good samples. During another ultrasound, another technician noticed something on one of my parathyroids. Dr X ordered more tests and confirmed I had an overactive parathyroid So at this point, Dr X suggested that I think about surgery. She told me that the overactive parathyroid was basically robbing my bones of calcium (increased osteoporosis risk) and that the high blood calcium levels increased risks of forming kidney stones. I was uncertain about surgery, but she referred me to a surgeon nearby. I won’t go into details here, but after meeting the surgeon, I soon began feeling uncomfortable with both Dr X and the surgeon.

    I asked my primary doctor for another referral, and that is when I found Dr Yeh. I gathered all my thyroid and parathyroid test results and sent them to UCLA in advance of my appointment. When I met Dr Yeh for the first time, I felt that I had been under his care for years. He had reviewed my forwarded records, and entered the examination room already knowing my medical history. Even though he was running late, Dr Yeh was patient with me and took the time to answer all my questions and address my concerns. I walked out of the room feeling confident that I’d made the right decisions for total thyroidectomy and partial parathyroidectomy.

    The morning of the procedure at the Westwood campus, members Dr Yeh’s team introduced themselves to me, letting me know their functions on the team. I didn’t feel nervous at all as I fell asleep. I woke up a few hours later, and it didn’t take long for one of Dr Yeh’s residents to show up at my bed to see how I was doing. They had reserved a private bed in the out-patient surgical center for me in case I needed to stay overnight, but I felt well enough to go home that afternoon. I went home after visiting the out-patient pharmacy for pain meds and a bottle of antacid tablets. I had difficulties sleeping in a bed the first few nights home due to swelling and general discomfort.

    Two days later, I started to experience muscle spasms in my hand and tingling sensations in my fingers. The discharge papers mentioned tingling as a possible side-effect of the procedure, and so I took a few antacid tablets as directed and went to sleep. The next morning, the twitching and tingling sensations had gotten worse. My husband called the after-hours number, and the resident-on-call instructed us to go to the UCLA emergency room. On the way back to UCLA, my hands got progressively worse. Instead of just muscle spasms, my fingers were now fully cramped like claws, and the pain went up to my elbows. At the ER, the pain from the blood-pressure cuff was unbearable. The nurse could not put the thing on my finger to meaure pulse-rate because she could not get my index finger in it. In the ER examination room, two of Dr Yeh’s residents showed up after the ER room doctor ordered blood work. A bit later, I was told that even though my blood calcium level was in the normal range, my body was still in shock. It had been accustomed to a high level of calcium, so it didn’t know how to handle a normal level. Perhaps the remaining two parathyroids may not be functioning and needed to “wake up”. I was hooked up to IVs of potassium, magnesium and calcium, and was admitted to the hospital for observation (blood work every 6 hours). The next morning, a group of residents visited my hospital room but they didn’t stay long. The head resident (?) told me that what I’d experienced was not common, maybe affecting 1 patient in 1000. Later that morning, I was discharged with a prescription for calcitrol and a higher antacid dosage.

    Five days after the surgery, I felt well enough to return to work. Two weeks after the surgery, I had a follow-up appointment wtih Dr Yeh. He reminded me then that I can call him anytime because he “signed up for this”. He also went over the biopsy report with me, answering questions that I had. I’m so glad that I had the procedure because while all the testing was focused on the larger tumor, it was the smaller ones that were precancerous. I could now return to an endocrinologist for follow up care since there was nothing else surgically to be done.

    I saw an endocrinologist at UCLA recently, and I walked away thinking maybe I should have gone to UCLA all along. She explained what else needs to be monitored, considering the precancerous biopsy findings, just to be on the safe side. She ordered more blood work, so I’m now waiting the results to determine if she needs to adjust the synthroid and cytomel dosages.

    Oh, one last comment. A lttle over a month later, the only remaining side-effect of the surgery is that my voice is still raspy.

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s been a few months since this entry, so I wanted to post a follow up. My voice returned to normal before Thanksgiving, and scarring at the incision site is minimal. Dr Yeh and his team are awesome (I can’t say this enough), and I have to agree that Dr Smooke is an amazing endocrinologist.

  35. Thank you for good topic.

  36. Chelsea says:

    Hi! My name is Chelsea and I’m 27 years old. I was found to have multiple thyroid nodules, one fairly large one on the left side of my thyroid, and a couple smaller ones on the right side. After ultrasounds and a FNA biopsy from nodules on both sides, they found that the left sided nodule was completely benign, though large, but the biospy was inconclusive for the nodules on the right side. At this point my amazing Endocrinologist Dr. Smooke said surgery would be the next logical step, because otherwise I would never know if the nodules on the right were cancerous or benign and I was referred to Dr. Yeh. Upon meeting Dr. Yeh for the first time, he was wonderful, patiently answering all the questions my fiancee and I had, and including the list of questions my concerned parents made me write down and bring. I knew I wanted to have the right side of my thyroid removed since the biopsy results were inconclusive, but I was having a hard time deciding about the left side. Dr. Yeh said because the nodule on my left side was so large, about 3.5 cm, there is a very good chnace that I would have to have that side of my thyroid removed in the future as well (it could grow large enough to impede my breathing), although for the time being, it was not causing me any harm. Another issue I had was that I was out from my job as an RN on medical leave due to a broken arm, and I only was on leave for a couple more weeks. Dr. Yeh and his staff were kind enough to be able to schedule my surgery while I was still on my existing medical leave, knowing my work would not be happy if I left again!

    I was having such a hard time deciding whether I should remove the left side of my thyroid, that Dr. Yeh said I could wait to decide and tell him on the morning of my surgery what my choice was. Once I got there in the morning, and was still a little indecisive, he did not try to pressure me one bit and said since I was so unsure, I should just remove the questionable right side, and I instantly felt less stressed about everything, knowing that he was ok with that decision.

    The surgery went really well, I woke up with a stiff neck and nauseous, but I only stayed in recovery for a few hours before I was discharged home. My father, who was very stressed about me having surgery and who had emailed Dr. Yeh many questions before the surgery, received a call from Dr. Yeh after the surgery, who personally told him everything went well.

    Once home, my pain was completely controlled with Extra Strentgh Tylenol, which I took for maybe 4 or 5 days. I even went to the gym and did a spin class 2 days later (although I didn’t push myself too hard!) The worst part was just feeling like you have a stiff neck for about a week. The results from the right side were all negative and 2 months later my scar is very small and doesn’t bother me at all! I would 100% recommend Dr. Yeh if you are in need of thyroid surgery, he is wonderful, has the best bedside manner and wants you to be comfortable in the decision you make. I ran into him a week ago on UCLA’s campus, and he remembered my fiancee’s and my sister’s names and jobs, unbelievable!

    • Isela says:

      Did you have to take thyroid replacement ? I have a 3.6!nodule on my left lobe. Dr yeh recommended a partial thyroidectomy .

  37. Jennifer Blake says:

    I was referred to a surgeon after an ultrasound showed two thyroid nodules on my left side and a thyroid uptake scan showed the need for a biopsy. My biopsy showed follicular lesion and they could not rule out cancer. I did a lot of research and found that Dr. Yeh was the best! I was extremely nervous about surgery due to a previous very bad experience with anesthesia. I had also just experience the birth of a child and several months of health problems. I am a teacher and mother of four children so was very worried about something happening to my voice or not coming out of surgery. The first time I met with Dr. Yeh I could tell he was a very confident and skilled surgeon, yet he also had a great bedside manner. He explained the procedure and told me why it was important to have it done. He got to know me and my family a little and I felt much better about having surgery.
    The day of the surgery I arrived and was anxious. I went in for a left thyroidlobectomy I was extremely please with the staff and facility. They were very prompt and the anesthesiologist was great about talking to me about my fears and even gave me something prior to surgery to calm my nerves. Dr. Yeh came in prior to surgery and talked to me once again and told my husband he would update him midway through. By the time I went into the operating room I was relaxed (which I never thought would happen) and even joking around with the doctors. I don’t remember ever waking up and had a great experience afterwards. There was a bit of pressure that took some getting used to on my throat but that feeling eased in a couple of hours. They were great about pain control and also giving me medicine so that I would not get nauseous from the medication. I stayed overnight because I lived about 2 and a half hours away. I went home the next morning and felt better everyday. About 5 days later I felt almost as good as new. I have no damage to my voice.
    My final results showed that the nodules were benign and that there was just a 2mm micocarcinoma found on the left side. I am so glad that I decided on the surgery now! I will have to have my right side monitored about every 6 months now, which I am seeing endocrinologist Dr. Smooke at UCLA.
    My incision was very small and he closed it with glue. It has been 4 weeks and it is hardly noticeable. I would highly recommend Dr. Yeh and the surgical staff at UCLA. I am very blessed that I had such a great team working on me.

  38. Monica says:

    I’m happy to share my experience with Dr. Yeh. I’m 46 and of Asian ancestry. I had my initial consultation meeting with Dr. Yeh in February of 2011 to discuss a nodule on my thyroid. I selected Dr. Yeh after researching specialists and concluded he had the expertise that I was looking for. In our first meeting he was very clear and concise on explaining my options and what his personal recommendation was. He was very approachable and answered all of my questions. A surgery date was set and Dr. Yeh performed a left thyroid lobotomy at UCLA Medical Center. From the moment I checked in for my pre-operation work I was treated with great care and respect. The surgical nurses, Dr. Yeh and the anesthesiologist all stopped by my bed to make sure I was comfortable and explained what was about to happen. I felt like I was the only patient in the hospital that morning. After the surgery the post operation nurse was by my side. She had a wonderfully sweet and gentle nature and checked on me frequently. My husband was impressed that after the surgery, Dr. Yeh met him and our young daughter in the waiting room and took the time to let them know all was well. He spent extra time to make sure my daughter understood that Mommy would be fine and everything was fixed. It was the best experience I could have possibly imagine and very thankful for Dr. Yeh and the very professional nursing staff at UCLA.

    • Isela says:

      Did you have to take hormone replacement? Was your nodule benign ? Dr yeh recommended a partial thyroidectomy . I have a 3.6!nodule on my left lobe and 2 very small ones on my right lobe.

  39. Tess says:

    My name is Tess. I’m a 45-year-old writer living in Venice. I woke up one morning in January to discover a lemon-sized lump above my left clavicle. After receiving an ultrasound, my primary care physician diagnosed it as a multinodular goiter and referred me to an endocrinologist who took one look at me and proclaimed, “Well, that’s got to come out.” She referred me to Dr. Michael Yeh’s surgical department, and when I called I was directed to the UCLA website. Impressive. You read about Dr. Yeh first. This is clearly his department: he established the program, he’s the program director, he’s the guy with seemingly all the experience and all the buzz. It would make sense to want his capable hands in your neck. But here’s where luck in timing works out to my advantage. The doctor visits and referrals process was already 6 weeks and counting, and the growth in my neck was becoming increasingly more uncomfortable—pushing my trachea, interfering with my swallowing. Dr. Yeh didn’t have an opening for another month. But Dr. Harari could see me the following week. I did my due diligence and poked around. I liked what I’d read about her and what I was hearing from other doctors in the UCLA system. And I figured that if the guy who pioneered the whole department picked her to be on his team—that was good with me. So I made an appointment to meet with her… I think the best thing that I can say is that she’s a burst of light. Disarming in her approach: all smiles, totally present, amazingly open. In my first meeting with her she was thorough in her examination and thoughtful about her recommendation. She explained things again and again. She answered my questions, even the dumb ones. It’s a lot of information that can be daunting. Obviously you’re not going to hear it all once and I think she knows that. So she said it all again. And again. After I left, I felt uncomfortable about her recommendation and asked for another consultation. She not only encouraged me to come back in and helped me arrange an appointment, but greeted me like we were old friends. She said all the right things—that I had every right to question the procedure, that she’d remove only half my thyroid if I really wanted her to even though she recommended a total thyroidectomy (and explained all the possible repercussions of each), that she was particularly anal about scars and how to hide them… While friendly and compassionate, she still managed to be confident and forthright. And I felt not just at ease with her, but damn lucky to have found her. And so I opted to go with the total thyroidectomy because she felt so strongly about it. The surgery went a bit longer than expected because, as she explained bedside, “that thing was huge!” holding her hands to form the shape of an oblong grapefruit. But I was awake and alert after surgery, I was drinking liquids soon thereafter, I was texting my friends and family like a teenager in detention, I was up and shuffling like a geriatric patient to the recovery room bathroom, and I was free to go home after the 6-hour monitoring period. I had about three days of feeling like I’d been hit by a truck as the anesthesia worked its way out of my system. I did a light yoga class a week after surgery. I went for a 2-mile run on the beach at the 10-day mark, and by 2 weeks it all felt like yesterday’s news… Perhaps it seems like all this was nothing. I’ve neglected to mention the long nights of questioning and concern leading up to the surgery—particularly how much I struggled with removing a vital gland and being tied to a little pink pill for the rest of my life (no side effects or not). I’ll save the spiritual conundrums for the longer version of the story I tell my friends—what the throat chakra is all about and that I painted my toenails blue because it was the only thing I could take with me into surgery. This wasn’t easy. I feel too young to have gone through this. Certainly far too healthy. I didn’t sleep a lot. I did more than cry, I bawled in the most slobbering, can’t-catch-my-breath sense of the word. But the surgery itself and the recovery after was nothing in comparison. The little pink pill even ain’t so bad. And everything about Dr. Harari made me feel like all of it was necessary, it was perfect, and that I was safe in her capable, compassionate, tender hands.

    • Anne Jacques says:

      This is a very encouraging piece. I was told yesterday I need removal of my thyroid and am trying to come to terms with it. The scar worriedsme.

      • Anonymous says:

        I had a total thryoidectomy done almost a year ago due to Graves. I was so fearful. I finally went through with it. Dr. Yeh was so understanding of my concerns and fears! Finally, when I got it done, a biopsy of my tissue after surgery, showed I had the beginning stages of thyroid cancer. I am so glad I finally had it removed! My scar is less than 3 inches and I feel tremendously better thanks to Dr. Yeh and his team! Dr. Yeh is an amazing surgeon and he will take the very best care of you, including aesthetically!

  40. Anonymous says:

    My name is Sharon and I am a 67 year old, self-employed, real estate investor in San Diego. I was riding my bicycle across Spain, from Sevilla to Grenada, in 2002, when I noticed an enlarged area in my neck, slightly off center to the right. It was non-tender, firm, but somewhat soft to the touch. When I returned home, I was diagnosed by an endocrinologist in San Diego with a thyroglossal duct cyst. He suggested immediate surgery, due to the surmised rapid increase in size of the cyst and the potential for throat obstruction.As a former Registered Nurse, a graduate of the UCLA School of Nursing, the UCSF surgery program and my employment as an operating room nurse at UCSF, I was quite concerned about a reversal in roles and the idea of having surgery. I had participated in enough procedures to know the risks and to be acutely aware that the skills of the surgeon were of primary importance. I observed that the bedside manner of the surgeon did not necessarily correlate with competency and a positive outcome from surgical intervention. I was placed on antibiotics (Biaxin) by the diagnosing endocrinologist and decided to wait on the results of the medication, before deciding on surgery. The size of the cyst diminished at first, then varied over the next eight years. However, it remained chronically enlarged and inflamed, even with subsequent antibiotic treatments. In 2009, I noticed the cyst was becoming larger and more noticeable. I decided on surgery for two reasons. First, chronic inflammation in the body can be potentially harmful. Second, the large swelling in my neck was making me self-conscious, changing the way I felt about myself and, I believed, the way others perceived me.So Google and U.S. News to the rescue! I checked on best hospitals, diabetes and endocrinology, and found UCSF was #4 and UCLA #5. I searched the curriculum vitae of the surgical staffs of both hospitals and made appointments with Dr. Yeh and one other surgeon. Both physicians had superior credentials, but Dr. Yeh had an indescribable attitude that radiated optimism and confidence. The surrounding medical staff at UCLA, from the medical students and the residents to the surgery coordinator, all seemed efficient, but especially interested in me and solving my specific medical problem.The surgery was scheduled and proceeded without any unusual problems. Dr. Yeh removed the benign, 10 gram, 5x3x1.5 cm cyst and, by special request, did a discreet "nip and tuck" to remove the excess skin in my neck that had been stretched, due to the swelling. Well, I am delighted and have enjoyed watching my chin line and neck reappear, and return to normal, as the swelling subsided. The only discomforts from the surgery were a slightly sore throat from the intubation by the anesthesiologist and two tape-induced abrasions on my face. I was not comfortable swallowing for a few days (pills would "stick" in my throat), but the abrasions healed quickly.Now, nearly two month post-op, I am confident that I made the correct decision. I no longer have to worry about a change in the pathology of the cyst and my voice, which had some changes due to the cystic pressure, has returned to normal. Many, many thanks to Dr. Yeh and his team. I would be happy to talk with any of Dr. Yeh patients about my experience.

  41. Joan says:

    Hello,My name is Joan G. I am 74 years old. I live in Redondo Beach, CA , but am originally from New York. I underwent a total thyroidectomy because of a suspicious nodule that had increased in size over the years. I also had 3 other high-risk factors "in place" for thyroid cancer–family history of thyroid cancer (father), x-ray treatments for acne as a teenager and Hashimoto's disease. A previous FNA was inconclusive. Prior to the surgery, I had consulted Dr. Manfred Blum of NYU in New York (my father's doctor) and he completely agreed with Dr. Yeh–"That thyroid has to COME OUT!" After all that, the nodule turned out to be benign. I found the surgery very easy to recover from. No problem with my voice, no trouble swallowing, no swelling, not even extreme pain. I never needed more than over-the-counter Tylenol for a mild to moderate sore throat for a couple of days. I was back on my bike in 2 1/2 weeks and swimming a short time after that.Dr. Yeh and his associates are excellent doctors. I realize the advances in surgical technique since my father's surgery over 33 years ago. I am so happy that I chose the UCLA Endocrine Unit. They exemplify medicine for the 21st century.

  42. Ed Wright says:

    Diagnosis: Thyroid Tumor, per ultra sound viewMy primary care DOC (Dr Bae) noted high calcium in blood work; He called & told me to stop driving; I did, good thing, I was becoming confused. Admitted to HOGG in Irvine, much scurrying around, but no results, I was feeling quite demented; further, they do not have flow max available & after being off medication for several days, had serious problems with urinary function. Sent home, Referred to you by Dr Patil of the Kris Iyer Endocrinology practice. Two years ago I had exploratory micro surgery in the thyroid area, but no problem was found.This surgery went well, no surprises or discomfort, relief to have a solution.No problems during recovery; as calcium levels dropped & my mind cleared, I resumed limited driving & returned to work functioning well.I am 73, my under graduate degree is in math & physics with certification in Business Admin later on, followed by an MBA and later, certification as a personal Financial Planner.In the military I was exposed to computers (Army Ordnance). Post military I did computer work hands on & later as a manager for a number of major Corporations, I draw retirement from ITT, Glaxo Smith Kline, and The American Red Cross.Once retired, I was approached by a golfing friend r.e. Mediation, I completed training in 2004, was accepted by the court system & have worked as a volunteer 5 days/week, since except for a break of about 5 months due to stroke.I was born & grew up in Baltimore, MDThank you Dr. Yeh for rescuing me from the calcium attack.Ed Wright

  43. Anonymous says:

    I am an impending total thryoidectomy patient and am feeling nervous of post-op results and what to expect. Your comments put me at ease tonight. Thank You!

  44. Anonymous says:

    I had a total thyroidectomy on 8/25/09. I found Dr. Yeh kind and knowledgeable. There were some surprises however. For example, I did not realize that 60% of women having a thyroidectomy get nausea and vomiting afterwards. This would have been nice to know as I was very sick after surgery and had to stay an extra day in the hospital. The other surprise was that UCLA does not have enough beds. They did not build the new hospital big enough. I was held in a unsatisfactory post-op holding area for almost 24 hours in a cubicle just big enough to hold a hospital bed and a bedside table with the only privacy being a curtain on the door way and the bathroom was down the hall. The nursing staff was from the in house registry. They were simply there to make it thru the shift and get paid. I didn't get my sleeping pill until 1AM. However, when I finally got a real room – the nursing care was great and the room was beautiful! My post op recovery took much longer than I expected. I'm a month out from surgery and am still not 100% (though back at work). I did not have cancer so that's a good thing. It took more than a week to get my pathology report so the 5 days to get the report back listed on the post op instructions is wishful thinking. I do recommend Dr. Yeh. He is the best. Just be prepared that this is a bigger surgery than is depicted, you could be very sick to your stomach and UCLA Medical Center is not a fun place to be for very long! (PS Anesthesiologist was terrific!!!)

  45. Anonymous says:

    I'm a 34 y.o. femail, accountant from Los Angeles, California. I first noticed a right thyroid nodule in August 07. Biopsy showed that it was benign. So the plan was to monitor via u/s every 6 months and repeat biopsy if it increases in size. A year later it did increase in size and it started to cause pressing symston. Although the 2nd biopsy also came back benign, but I was ready to get it removed, since I'm only 34 years old, and chance of it getting bigger over the year is high. So I went on searching for a good surgeon. My primary doctor first referred me to a doc from USC. He seemed experienced and qualified but I didn't care for his attitude. Then I found this blog and liked what I read about Dr Yeh. I made an appointment for consultation with Dr Yeh. He answered all of my questions, and lay out all my options with statistic results. Surgery was scheduled for Feb 09. I was very nervous on surgery day. But Dr Yeh and the whole team from UCLA were patient and helpful. I would recommend them to any one. Now it has been 4 months, and the scar is healing well. It's a thin red line about 1 3/4 inch long. If I cover it with makeup you can barely notice it. I'm hopeful that it will become invisible within a year. Oh and Dr Yeh and his team are very good at following up after the surgery and responding to all my inquires as well. I think he might be the best (both qualifications and attitude) you can find in southern California. I even recommended him to my out-of-state friend.

  46. Anonymous says:

    One morning I awoke and while brushing my teeth( all 4 of them) I noticed a large swelling in the left side of my neck.I thought, that is strange I don’t have a sore throat. It continued to grow, it seemed, until I asked others, “can you see something on the left side of my neck?” and they began to answer, yes I see something, what is it? Darned, if I know. I answered, but decided to see a DR, Got a referral to ENT…some departments are not cash and carry, you must be “referred” so I went to see the surgeon here who had taken our thyroids from several people I knew here on the island(Okinawa) He said that calls for a sono-gram and a FNB( fine-needle biopsy)..so those procedures were followed, meantime I began to have a period( at age 70?) So another referral to Dr. Aarfa, the resident baby-factory man….he said this calls for a biopsy…suddenly everyone wanted a piece of me!??! Upon receiving the results from the procedures, Dr. Hoffman reviewed them closely and said the sonogram shows a large mass on your left thyroid and your FNB has Hurthle cells in it…Hmmmm, he said, you need an Endocrinologist to go over your case, and see what he says before consulting any surgeon. Plans were underway, summer was coming…June was bustin out all over…by the way, I was not bleeding yet, I got that out of sequence. I went to U C L A because I had read so much about it. I went to visit a friend who was in there one time for surgery, and I had the best onion rings I had ever tasted in the hospital cafeteria there, and I was so impressed that every time I got on an elevator, 4 or 5 Dr.s would crowd along with me, I was surrounded by white coats. So I told my sister that if I ever needed hospital care I wanted to go there. So I went to see DR. Hershmann, the endocrinologist, and showed him my tests.. he felt of it-whatever “it” was and gave me his own sonogram. Meanwhile, he told me his wife loved to read so I got her my latest prepared BookList and sent it to his E mail. He said, “You can go around with that ol’thing in your throat if you want to-but my medical advice is to TAKE the darn thing out! ! Hmmm. I said, well Dr. Hoffman won’t operate on me. He told me that point blank…I have atrial fibrillation…he swore up and down he did not want a cardiac event in his operating room!!?? I need a cardiologist’s OK, so Dr.Hershmann started talking away about Dr. Yeh, one of the expert surgeons in the throat area, but I misunderstood and thought he said Dr. Yeh was a cardiologist!…So I never contacted him. Instead in June of ’08 I went to the TULSA heart hospital, where all the DR.s there are cardiologists, and saw my Cardiologist and told her I was thinking of surgery and could she and her staff give me any clearance for surgery.? She immediately did Nuclear medicine of my heart( found no blockages) and pronounced me fit for surgery. Whew,,,,that step passed. She had previously knocked me out a year ago and gone down through my esophagus with a little light probe threaded into my heart and scratched on my heart to get the jelly bobbles to stop. They didn’t and 4 days later I was in a car wreck and the AIR BAG blew up in my face, knocking me senseless and all the air right out of my lungs, –thank God my 14 yr old niece crawled through the wreckage and found my coke-bottle eye glasses! So I began to search for a surgeon on the NET and ESP at U C L A…Dr. Yeh’s profile came up and said he was very interested in the thyroid area…I said, hmm this must be the same Dr. that Dr. Hershmann was talking about, but I thought he was a cardiologist…So, I found out the office number and called. A very friendly and patient with patients receptionist named Yazmine answered the phone. She said she would take my case info, files, records in a fax, or PDF file and talk to Dr. Yeh, She set up a “Phone Appt” with Dr. Yeh for me. He was so pleasant on the phone and told me he would re-arrange his schedule to the best of his ability to fit me in for surgery during my Christmas Break. I went back and read some more about him-I said if this Dr. is not afraid to operate on me…then I am not afraid either. Back on the island in December of 08 before I flew over for surgery,an internist who was doing some labs for me to take to U C L A ran into the exam room, All frantic like and said, “you have cancer, you know you have cancer” No, I don’t, I didn’t see that anywhere I told her. Oh, but you do! She was emphatic-YOU HAVE CANCER she kept repeating. I think she saw that the FNB said I had suspicious “Hurthle Cells”…there was no definite review of cancer or malignancy of any kind.Finally, Yazmine called me and told me DR. Yeh will operate on you DEC 18th…can you be here for a PRE-OP appointment? I said, sure, I’ll be there. Stayed with my 85 yr old cousin in San Pedro, and later POST-OP was picked up by sister and brother-in-law from OJAI, CA Made it to the appointment, and immediately knew I was glad I met Dr. Yeh.He had a very magical assistant, a 2nd year med student who was assigned to take my history…he looked to be all of 12 years old, maybe 14, he was so helpful, and was able to get one of my rings off that all other nurses and hospital personnel could NOT do. He soaked my finger in crushed ice, and then applied lotion to the frozen digit and the ring slid off! They got me ready for surgery, and the anesthesiologist came and talked with me, and I spoke to him briefly about never being put out completely ( only the Versed for Cardio version) , he was very reassuring and told me he had just the right medicines for me, and he must have because I breezed through the operation. The med student hung around all day in his green scrubs waiting to observe my op….it was backed up until 7:30 P M…and suddenly there I was-in the recovery warehouse-yes, it looked exactly like a large warehouse, with a small desk and light bulb on the end of a cord hanging from the ceiling…very strange environment…I suddenly sat up and Yelled, “It’s boring in here-I’m Bored” ( just coming to)and at that very moment, Dr. Yeh, happened to bypassing through the warehouse looked over at me…and said, “sit tight the dancers will be along any minute now”!!!God, that man is cool! ( He took out all my thyroid and one of the para-thyroids which was encapsulated and sooner or later wouldn’t work. He’d patiently explained all the risks before hand. The wound never got infected, and healed quickly, minimal sore throat… I spent two nights-that night and the next, then home. Food was great-baked Tilapia, steamed veggies, ice-cream, cranberry juice, couldn’t ask for better food. I had a TV on an arm that pulled right out of the wall, so it could hover right over the bed…saw Mary Martin and Ethyl Merman sing a medley of show tunes!..Time passed so quickly and I only had to take on valium when the Knock-out drops began to totally clear my body, I became a little agitated…natural feeling I was told..throat a little sore, not bad( didn’t know I couldn’t sing tho?) Of course I had CELTIC WOMAN with me the fantastic IRISH singers now touring the U S A…they absolutely sing like ethereal angels, and I had their individual albums with me!!!I highly recommend Meav, or Chloe or Orla Or Lisa if you have to spend any time in a hospital…their music is so soothing, you won’t even notice any pain or stress when they are around. ( NOW, was the time I was bleeding..for one month-turned out to be a Polyp removed by a Filipino Lady gynecologist in Ventura) Dr. Yeh would gladly have been my post-op doctor , yet I had to get to VEGAS to recover, then back to the island where I live and work. I was back at work 3 weeks after the surgery-no scar at all–just a very tiny line-hardly visible. Dr. Yeh, made a post-op phone call appointment with me, and I feel he is very approachable with any of his patients to ask questions, and his skill is beyond questions-he’s tops. I wish the young med student all the best as his desire is to become a General Surgeon.I feel terrific, no more draggy days when my TSH brought my energy level so low, it is now regulated, or seems to be, I feel very young, and able to climb mountains! and Yes, I can sing now!I recommend Dr. Yeh and his staff if you have any needs in the thyroid surgery area.Respectfully submittedCarla D. ShankDept of Defense Kadena AirbaseOkinawa, JapanAssoc, Professor UMUC ( ADJ)

  47. Anonymous says:

    My name is Ken and I am a 40 year old male that was diagnosed with a multinodular goiter thyroid.In Oct. 2008 I had surgery at UCLA to remove my thyroid, which was performed by Dr. Yeh.The multinodular goiter that was removed was 5.8 cm. It was removed from me with no problems. About two weeks after after surgery I was feeling myself, and my incision is barely noticeable.Dr. Yeh was very patient with me, and answered all my questions that I had about the surgery. I would definitely recommend Dr. Yeh for any thyroid surgery.Thank youKen

  48. Anonymous says:

    Our daughter Megan, who is 11 years of age was diagnosed with Graves Disease at the age of 6. She had no goiter at the time, but did have Graves Ophthalmopathy (bulgy eyes) and weight loss as well as hyper behavior. She was on medication for several years and was doing fine until a year ago, when her goiter grew rapidly until it was quite large. Her endocrinologists told us it was time to either ablate it with Radioactive Iodine, or surgically remove it. With an 11 year old girl, neither one of these solutions sounded great. We worried about both options: the Radioiodine could make her eye disease worse, and who really knows about cancer in the future when giving such a young child radioactivity. We worried about surgery: would she have vocal chord damgage? Would she get an infection or bleed or have a reaction to the anesthesia? Would she have an awful looking scar? (Very important issue to an 11 year old girl). I’m sure any parent would have these concerns. After meeting with Dr. Michael Yeh at UCLA in June, he immediately left us feeling hopeful about the surgery option. He is so warm and caring, and even made our daughter feel very brave about surgery. He did warn us of risks (although very low) involved, and spelled out very clearly about what to expect during and after surgery. Still, being a worried mom, I felt I needed to other options, so we had our daughter seen by a Nuclear Medicine Doctor in regard to the RAI treatment option. Basically, we were told at that point that her goiter had grown too large for RAI treatment to work effectivly(this was now October). I finally felt it was clear she needed surgery. She wanted it more than anything, as she felt children at school were staring at her and asking why her neck was so large. Finally, on Oct. 22 of this year(08) she had the surgery done with Dr. Yeh. I can tell you that he is completely accesible at all stages of surgery: we saw him the day before the surgery, we saw him in the “prep” room where he made Megan feel so at ease, and soothed my anxiety and my husbands, even told us he would treat her as he would his own child. There are not many Doctors/Surgeons who would say this. The surgery was a little over 2 hours long(I of course was pacing the halls), and finally Dr. Yeh came out to us smiling so I knew everything was okay! Her surgery went beautifully with no problems or complications. She stayed 2 nights at the hospital, and the first 24 hours were a little rough for us all because she complained of a lot of pain in her throat )(the intubation tube) as well as her neck incision. But she had IV pain meds which solved this problem and she slept the better part of 2 days. The ped. nurses at UCLA were terrific too. On the 3rd day we went home and she was feeling great! A little tired, sore throat, and voice a little hoarse (totally went away a couple days later). She was running around the house playing 4 days post surgery. Dr. Yeh did an unbelieveable job on closing the incison (about 2 inches wide). One month post surgery it is a thin line, hardly visible, and her beautiful thin neck is amazing to look at after seeing a large goiter for so long. We only wish we had met Dr. Yeh earlier and had the surgery done a year ago! Any questions post surgery that I have had I email him, and he replies right away (being such a busy surgeon this is amazing!). We cannot recommend him enough, and want to put any parents at ease (anyone for that matter with thyroid disease) that surgery is a good option for Graves Disease with goiter and Ophthalmopathy. (Her eyes seem more normal in size now also.) Yeah for Dr, Yeh! Thank you so much.

  49. Anonymous says:

    Hello-My name is Karen, and I am a 52 year old female. Several years ago( 3 to be exact), I was told that I had a nodule on my thyroid. I was very involved with my husbands previous cancer treatments for non-hodskins lymphoma, so I was aware of the importance of watching this closely.Over the next several years, UCLA did 4 ultra sounds, and several needle biopsy, that stayed the same. But when the last scan showed the nodule had grown, I decided to seek out the best of the surgeon’s, and that is what I did! I made my apt. to go see Dr. Michael Yeh, and immediately knew that I would have the surgery. I went into his office with a list of questions for him, but never had to ask them, as he gave me all the onsets before I could even ask. I can’t tell you how comfortable Dr. Yeh made me feel. Following my lobectomy and one nights hospital stay, I am feeling great. I never took any medications after the surgery other than tylenol, and 3 wks. post surgery, I am feeling great! So far, I am not taking any thyroid med’s, but will have to check with my counts on next months blood test. I am totally shocked at the small incision on my neck. I have seen so many large needless scars on people’s necks, and am so grateful for Dr. Yeh. He is incredible, and so nice. When I had called the office several times, he has personally picked up the phone and answered questions. I don’t know of any doctor that would take the time to talk, and be so genuine. My biopsy came back benign, so now I can rest assured! This was totally the right thing to do for me. If you have any questions, go see Michael Yeh, at UCLA, you will be very happy you did!Thank you, your the BEST!Karen

  50. nicol b says:

    My name is Nicol, and i am a resident of South Pasadena and attend the high school. and I needed a 2 inch mass removed from around where my left thyroid gland is located on my neck. After a few blood tests and ultrasounds and even extracting some cells from the nodule they could not be 100 % sure it was not cancerous, but with a 15 % chance that it was Dr. Yeh decided it was best to take it out to be safe. My only concern was that my finals were a less then a week away for me and i play competitive basketball and needed to get back to that ASAP. But he assured me i would recover quickly, and i DID. i was back to school by thursday, and playing a little over a week later. It was more difficult to recover from than i had expected but overall i was very pleased with my experience and couldnt have asked for a better doctor.

  51. Maelle says:

    I am a 25 year old female and in March of 2008, I had a complete thyriodectomy with Dr. Yeh. I had received several opinions from different surgeons (my endocrinologists had been suggesting surgery for over 4 years to remove my benign thyroid nodules on my left lobe), but I never felt comfortable enough to consider surgery until I met Dr. Yeh. Benign thyroid nodules were common in my family, so when I first found out about my nodules in 2000, it did not come as a big surprise. While monitoring my thyroid for years with regular ultrasounds and blood tests, I struggled with hypothyroidism and Hashimotos Disease. After realizing that Synthroid wasn’t making my nodules shrink (back in 2003), I never again took synthetic hormone supplements. Rather, I tried alternative approaches to get my thyroid nodules to reduce in size (acupuncture, herbal supplements, nutrition, etc.). My nodules kept growing and by 2004, several endocrinologists suggested I surgically remove the left lobe of my thyroid. I met with several surgeons who suggested I remove my entire thyroid, but I never wanted to proceed with surgery. I thought surgery was too invasive and I was too young to remove my entire thyroid.The nodules continued to grow to the point where I started to feel a lack of air, especially when exercising and in yoga classes (the main nodule was bigger than a golfball). My endocrinologist, Dr. Davis, referred me to Dr. Yeh, who explained all of my options. I decided to go ahead with the full thyroidectomy because I had a high chance of recurring goiters if I had only removed the left lobe and isthmus (I’m young, I’m a woman, and thyroid disease runs in my family). After my afternoon surgery, it hurt most to swallow (from the intubation). My neck was stiff, but it got progressively better and I was up and out of my house after three days. Also, my scar is only about an inch and a half long! I took pain medication while I was in the hospital overnight, and by the time I got home, I stopped taking pain medication. I’ll have to take a thyroid hormone pill every morning, but I feel great, I can breath well, and I know I won’t have to think about growing thyroid nodules. I am so incredibly grateful for Dr. Yeh and his team, and I highly recommend scheduling a consultation with him if you’re considering thyroid surgery.

  52. Anonymous says:

    I am a 30 year-old attorney. I am from Los Angeles, California.I have had hypothyroidism for as long as I can remember and in 2002, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s autoimmune disorder. As a result of my thyroid condition, I had a multinodular goiter that was quite visible but I never opted for surgery because it did not bother me. My endocrinologist at UCLA kept a close eye on me, and I would get regular biopsies and ultrasounds. After my last ultrasound, my dr. discovered a new nodule. The biopsy showed that it was fine, but soon after, I felt compression symptoms against my neck and at times, I had difficulty swallowing. Ultimately, after speaking with my dr., who referred me to Dr. Yeh, I decided to have surgery. Dr. Yeh is clearly a brilliant doctor, but in addition, as so many of you have pointed out, Dr. Yeh has the kind of bedside manner that you wish for, but rarely find in a doctor. Dr. Yeh explained that I would have a total thyroidectomy. He explained all the risks, and made sure to answer all my questions. Since vocal chord damage is a possible side effect of surgery, Dr. Yeh also noted that I am a trial attorney, which makes my voice particularly important. On the day of surgery, I was nervous. After waking up, I remember feeling very groggy, but not in much pain. My body felt extremely tired/weak from the anaesthesia and I also had some nausea as a result.I spent the night in the hospital, and went home the next day. I took Vicodin for only two days. I also took calcitriol and calcium supplements until my parathyroids woke up.It has been almost two months since my surgery, and I am so pleased with the results. As my goiter was quite large, it must have been a challenge to make as small an incision as possible. Everyong who sees my scar is amazed at how small it is given the fact that I had a complete thyroidectomy.My scar is healing well, and physically I feel much better not having the large goiter in my throat.Dr. Yeh has been amazing through my recovery process, returning my phone call when I had a question post-surgery, and meeting with me post-surgery to remove the steri-strips and answer any questions.I am very thankful to have been taken care of by Dr. Yeh.

  53. Anonymous says:

    im a 27 year old student at UCLA. i was initially diagnosed with graves disease about 1 and a half years before i decided on total thyroidectemy. my mom was actually the first to suggest hyperthyroidism. at the time i was getting skinnier, but i thought it was just because i was trying to lose a little weight and found myself walking to classes a lot more. what tipped her off was she noticed my hands shaking a bit and how i was becoming more restless. i told her it was nothing, but she insisted i have my blood taken as she had hyperthyroidism when she was pregnant with me. also, i had just passed a kidney stone and she thought that after a sudden trauma to my body like that could get in motion the genetics that might have been dormant for graves. im not sure if this is ‘why’ i got hyperthyroid, but it might have played some role.in any case, i was blood tested and it was shown that my thyroid levels were very high. i forget why really, but i also had to have an ultrasound and a nuclear mri of some sort. that was the first time they actually saw i had graves. at first, my primary doctor (who was great by the way) told me i could either take pills to regulate the hormone or do the radioactive iodine treatment to battle this disease. being hesitant at first because she said the radioactivity might have the side effect of killing off the whole thyroid function, i chose the pills. i should have picked the radioactive treatment right off the bat because i noticed around that time my eyes started to bulge. it was then that i chose to do the iodine treatment. after that i had to wait and take more blood tests to see if it worked enough or even too much. turns out that the radioactivity did not cure my thyroid. it would fluctuate between periods of seemingly normal behavior, to still producing too much hormone. it is hard to judge the effectiveness of each treatment because i would have to wait about 2 months after the initial treatment to see what effects it had on my thyroid.i was told that i could either try the radioactivity again, or i could have surgery. surgery seemed very scary to me especially after i was weary of taking a radioactive pill. the reason i did end up choosing surgery, however, is because i was informed that even if the radioactivity worked, there was still a chance down the line that my eyes would continue to bulge out even if the thyroid hormone was stopped! this put me at risk for a more complicated surgery later. they told me about the procedure and said it was pretty routine, and i really did not want to have my appearance altered too much, so i decided on surgery. they said with surgery, the eye bulge was as bad now as it ever would be so that was a little alleviating. i met Dr Yeh and he told me about the procedure, the recovery time, the process, and why my eyes were bulging (note: one eye was bulging a little more than the other) and made me feel pretty comfortable.the day of the surgery, ii admit, i was really scared. i had never had surgery and it was going to be on my neck. i saw a picture of the procedure online and i was uneasy. i tried not to think about it which was the best strategy because, honestly, before i knew it i was finished. they put me to sleep and when i awoke it was over. initially i felt pain in my throat, but just as if i got hit there or had a really bad cramp. i stayed in the hospital one night and was released the next day. the pain never got too intense. they gave me vicodine and that helped a bit, but as long as i didnt move it a lot or fast it was fine. for the pain to subside to where i was able to walk around and go back to school took only about 5 days!all in all, i rather have not had the surgery, but in my case i believe it was really necessary. also Dr Yeh really is a great surgeon, and i think i have him to thank for having to deal with the least pain possible. he did a great job and was also very helpful in answering all the questions i had about my condition. if surgery is an option for you, it really isnt as bad as it seems.

  54. Anonymous says:

    Hello all. My name is Elizabeth O’Howell and am a 34 yr. old Paralegal in San Bernardino, CA. I had experienced symptoms for approx. two years before being diagnosed with Graves Disease. I was referred to Dr. Yeh by a friend. Dr. Yeh called me at my home and scheduled a 2nd opinion appointment with me within a couple of days. Unfortunately, I had serious complications and had to be admitted to UCLA hospital immediately. One week later (approx.) I had my thyroid surgically removed.The surgery was a success. I stayed at UCLA for only a couple of days after the surgery. I felt great, no pain (only when swallowing meds…). The nursing staff was awesome. They took great care of me. My husband, son, and daughter didn’t mind driving 5 hrs. round trip almost daily to see me, because Dr. Yeh was such an excellent doctor. He’s the BEST of the BEST.It has been a little over a year since surgery, and cannot thank Dr. Yeh enough for saving my life! He was the most caring person I have ever met. And that’s odd considering he’s a doctor…they’re normally uncaring and treat you like an object instead of a person.Dr. Yeh was very personable, had a great bedside manner, and I am extremely proud to say that I was treated by such a terrific doctor. I cried during my follow up appointment, because I knew that was probably the last time I would see him.May you and your family be blessed, always. I know mine has, because of you.Liz O’HowellDecember 2007

  55. Mel says:

    Hello,I had a total thyroidectomy a week ago, and was wondering if anyone has had a similar feeling of tightness and fullness around the neck. I didn’t have this feeling immediately after surgery – it just started last night, almost one week post-op. As a result of the compression and tightness, I am also having difficulty swallowing. Any input would be greatly appreciated.Thank you!

    • Ashley says:

      Hi there. I had a partial thyroidectomy in October and the swelling/tightness around the neck is what bothered me as well. Here i am 4 months later and still have the feeling. They say it could be scar tissue, and massaging it helps. But in the mornings it feels the tightest, and its such a scarey feeling. Do you still have that feeling? Because your surgery wasnt that far from mine.

  56. Sylvia says:

    I have lived with an enlarged thyroid for years, and since my thyroid tests always stayed within acceptable levels when I took my meds, I rarely thought about it. Then several months ago I began to notice a difference in the way one side felt, so I had it checked again. An ultrasound showed 3 nodules, one of which was quite large. A biopsy showed that all three were benign. After a consultation with Dr. Yeh, and his concern that the growths could still be cancerous I decided to have a total thyroidectomy. I was very nervous about the surgery, In 60 years I had never spent time in the hospital and was concerned about errors, mix-ups etc. The staff and Dr. Yeh were wonderful, the discussed all my concerns openly and explained all of the procedures clearly. While I was in the Hospital everyone checked to make sure I was the patient the wanted to see, and the medication and treatments were correct. Surgery went well- the biopsy done after surgery found a small cancer and it was on the lobe that did not have nodules. Had I not had a total thyroidectomy, the cancer would have remained along with the node. After eight weeks I went went through 1 treatment with radioactive iodine for the cancer, and hopefully that is all that will be necessary.I would recommend Dr. Yeh and the staff at UCLA to anyone.

  57. Anonymous says:

    I think the fact that this blog exists is a testament to Dr. Yeh’s passion for his patients and his work. I am a 36 y.o. female. My Ob/Gyn discovered my thyroid nodule in 1998. Over the years it has been biopsied and watched. Always benign, it grew to almost 4cm’s and a new one grew on the other side to about 1cm. I was also diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. My regular endocrinologist really wanted me to have surgery, because, as others have stated here, you just never know what it may become even with biopsies. I also just stopped feeling like my usual self (sluggish, weight gain). I interviewed 3 surgeons in Orange County near me. The one with the most experience had poor bedside manner, the nicest one only did 3-4 thyroidectomies a year. I was not sure what to do. I suddenly realized I had a huge resource at UCLA where my original endo retired from. I found the department website and called Dr. Yeh’s office. I knew the minute I met him that I could be confident in his skill AND he had a great communication with patients. My surgery was completely uneventful, which is a good thing. I,too, had residual discomfort from the tube (scratchy throat, like a cold), but by the next day that was gone. It hurt to swallow for a few days, but also not worse than the worst sore throat I have had. I used almost no Rx pain meds and was back at work in 2 weeks-felt pretty good at 1 week. Since my surgery on 6/11/07, I have lost 9 pounds, putting me much closer to my old self. I don’t know why it should make such a difference when I was on hormone before the surgery, but I haven’t felt this good in years, so I am thankful to my endo for pushing surgery and to Dr. Yeh for doing it so well. Oh, my scar is perfectly smooth and just a bit red, but it’s only been 3 months! The entire staff at Dr. Yeh’s office and throughout the hospital were very friendly and even when issues arose, which they should be expected, they were usually resolved without problems. I would have surgery at UCLA again and would recommend Dr. Yeh to anyone.LeeAnaheimSept 2007

  58. Anonymous says:

    My name is Sean and I am a 36 year old male. During my routine physical, my General Physician noticed a lump on my throat, and ordered an ultrasound for further investigation. The ultrasound confirmed I had a ~5cm goiter on the left side of my neck and a ~2cm goiter on the right side. A Fine Needle Aspiration (FNA) was ordered. Unfortunately because of the cell type the FNA was inconclusive, so I had a decision to make; leave it alone, partial thyroidectomy, or total thyroidectomy? The first doctor I meet recommended taking out the largest goiter, and leaving the right thyroid in tack. In his opinion would avoid taking synthroid on a daily basis. After speaking with my family and friends I was not comfortable with this decision, and wanted a second opinion. Dr Yeh was highly recommended, so I quickly made an appointment with him. Dr Yeh was very informative, and clearly outlined the risks and benefits of a total vs. partial thyroidectomy. I decided on a total thyroidectomy. This was to avoid having a probable removal of the other part of the thyroid in the coming years. The total thyroidectomy took about an hour a half, and Dr Yeh took out an 8cm (about the size of an orange) goiter from my thyroid (even Dr Yeh was surprised of the size). The worst part of the surgery was the incubation tube which made scratched my throat and made it very sore (note: drinking fluids was much worse than eating solids). This soreness lasted about a week. After that week I was on the road to recovery and was back to work the second week. Now 4 months later, although at times I still feel some discomfort in my throat, I feel back to normal. Taking synthroid on a daily basis has become routine and I my THS level is in the correct range. I cannot thank Dr Yeh enough for his professionalism and expertise.

  59. hyla merin says:

    My name is Hyla Merin and I am a 62 yeat old retired elementary school teacher. I am currently substituting part time.For the past 25 years, I have had multi-nodular thyroid disease. My doctors had observed it during this period when there was very little growth of the nodules. During this past year one of the smaller nodules began to grow. My HMO doctor did not realize what was happening. I then went out of the HMO to my Ear, Nose and Throat doctor who had me get a new ultra sound and Fine Needle Biopsy. The ultra sound showed the new growth and the FNA came back benign. My ENT doctor recommended that I remove only the lobe where the nodule had grown even though I nodules on both lobes. I also visited a private (NON HMO) endocrinologist who I had previosly seen over the years. He looked at my tests and recommended that instead of just removing the thyroid lobe where the growth was, that I should remove the whole thyroid. Needless to say I was confused. It was then that a friend who works at UCLA recommended that I see Dr. Yeh. That was the best suggestion! Once I met Dr Yeh and his staff, I knew I had found the right person for me.I took my cousin with me for my consultation appointment. Dr Yeh asked about my history, spent time explaining to me in detail, and answered all my questions. Before I left we had scheduled my complete thyroidectomy for about a month away. His research showed that even though my FNA was benign, there was still a 25% chance that it still could be cancerous. He suggested removing my complete thyroid as a precaution and also it was likely that one of my many other growths could grow also. My nodule was also getting large enough to start to cause discomfort and possibly some voice changes.I had surgery on July 30,2007. I stayed over night in the hospital. The care was great but it was also great to be home. I took pain meds while in the hospital. Upon returning home I took tylenol for about 2 days and nothing since.All my nervousness prior to surgery was gone, and I’m so glad to have the procedure done and over. By the way, I’m in the 75% group that my growths turned out to be benign, but I know I chose the right procedure.The biggest problem I have had post surgery is an allergic reaction to the tape I had to wear for 2 weeks after the stitches and surgical tape were removed. It got all red and itchy.When I called Dr yeh’s office with my questions, he always returned my calls which I appreciated.Prior to surgery, I checked all of Dr Yeh’s credentials on the website. After surgery, I can tell that although he is absolutely brilliant, he has great hands. His surgery was perfect. He also has a great bedside manner,who gave me confidence and made me feel comfortable with all the steps of my procedure.I know I was fortunate to find the best person to treat me!If you have any questions, feel free to contact me. I hope my experience can help you.hyla@roadrunner.com

  60. Anonymous says:

    My name is Laura Maidenberg and I am a 43 year old Horticulturist in Marina del Rey Ca. I should start by saying my husband is a Doctor of over twenty years at UCLA. The reason this is relevant is because even with his knowledge and “pull” at UCLA I had no correct diagnosis for TWO years! In 2004 I started having kidney stones, about one a month for two long painful years had great kidney doctors and urologist. But, none of them knew what was causing the stone production. I was sent to numerous endocrinologist’s and other “specialist” all to no avail. All the doctors had different diagnosis – “adenoma” (after testing no sign of an adenoma), “leaking kidneys”, “hereditary” etc. It was a frustrating and disappointing time to say the least. had prior serious renal problems and my kidneys where starting to shut down. It was becoming “life threatening” according to my kidney doctors. I was at my wits end! I knew there had to be a cause! Then I heard about Dr. Yeh. I called and spoke with him and he had me in his office within a couple of days and diagnosed me with Hyperparathyroidism. I had a Parathyroidectomy two weeks later. I had little pain and some minor complications due to my kidneys. My recovery was speedy and within weeks I felt fantastic. I had energy and no aches, moans or groans. Now it’s almost a year later and I am slightly HYPOparathroid and am on Calcitriol and Calcium daily. My scar has healed to the point where it is barely visible. I have noticed that when I over exert myself and loose fluids, I do start tingling and have numbness. This is my que to pop a Tums ASAP. My calcium then shortly returns to normal and I feel fine. I am living an active full life again solely due to Dr. Yeh. Now, a little something about Dr. Yeh, he is above and beyond any Doctors left practicing medicine today. First of all he has something called empathy and compassion (that is non-existent in today’s Doctors) He directly speaks to patients himself at all times (unheard of with other Doctors). He was in my hospital room himself everyday (even sundays). Dr. Yeh’s work ethic is of the highest I have ever seen. I can not stress enough how Dr. Yeh has saved my life. I have had many, many surgeries in the past and not a one Doctor even slightly compares to Dr. Yeh. Dr. Yeh is simply THE BEST OF THE BEST!Anyone my feel free to contact me with any questions.Laura MaidenbergAugust 2007

  61. Anonymous says:

    Hello-My name is Sarah and I am 26 years old. I live in Bakersfield and traveled to the specialists at UCLA, which is where I was referred to Dr. Yeh for surgery. After being told I had a large benign thyroid tumor on one side, which needed removed, and a smaller one on the other, which did not necessarily need removed, I opted for a total thyroidectomy rather than a lobectomy. My reasons for this were simple. I would probably have needed to take prophylactic thyroid hormone anyway to prevent the other side from becoming overactive to compensate, not to mention that there was the future possibility of having surgery again if it did get big enough on the one side. I was very glad due to a few post-op complications totally unrelated to Dr. Yeh’s surgery. It was the best decision I could have made and thyroid hormone is easy to take every morning-no problems!

    • Anonymous says:

      In three months you’ll be good as new. I underwent all those discomforts but after three months, It seemed they were forgotten. Keep heart… just follow your doctor’s advise and help yourself get better. My voice has settled to normal and I’m feeling healthier. You’re in the best hands – Dr. Yeh is a truly “YEH! YEY!!!” doctor. It’s my pride and joy to recommend him to family and friends.

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