Update: Thyroid cancer surgery and concerns due to PBC

Hello everyone. I went to see my surgeon yesterday and my surgery to remove my thyroid is scheduled for June 11. The surgeon said she needed to clear my surgery with my gastroenterologist and my gp due to the PBC and the anesthesia and possible bleeding risk. She doesn't know that much about my status, so she is wanting to consult with them. I was at stage 2 after biopsy last year, and as far as I know my clotting function, albumin and bilirubin are all within normal ranges, so the bleeding should be relatively normal. But I am more concerned about something she said about the anesthesia and what it will do going through my liver. as you know, most anesthesias are broken down in the liver and I know I have a delayed processing of medicines already. I don't want to wake up during the surgery because they use so little or not wake up because they use too much. I wasn't really super scared about this surgery, but now I am. People tell me that thyroid removal surgery is not as bad of a surgery as some, but all of them have normal livers. Has anyone had this surgery or any surgery with general anesthesia with their PBC? I need some reassurance.

13 Replies

  • Hi NotorDJP, sorry to hear you are having to undergo surgery. This already will be a stressful time and your concerns will contribute to that.

    Are you a member of the PBC Foundation? If not, i would recommend you join and the staff will ensure you have access to the information you require with regards to your PBC. If you contact them and ask the questions in relation to the concerns you have they will be happy to assist you.




  • I am in the US so I haven't joined the foundation

  • I would still recommend you contact as the advice they give is accurate and fact and may put you at ease. There is a helpline that you can contact. i hope this helps.

    Best wishes


  • I am just struggling with the fact that this surgery could set me back on my PBC and my liver could become more damaged due to it. The surgery is about 3.5 hours. That's the longest surgery I've ever had. Its because the area is so delicate.

  • I admit, I don't much about surgery with PBC, but I found this thread and it was asking about surgery and PBC and some of the responses might put your mind at ease.


    Wishing you the best,


  • Thank you, I've read that thread before, but I couldn't find it this morning. It sounds like unless you are end stage disease you should be fine as long as your clotting function is within normal ranges. My gastro already gave clearance to my surgeon for the surgery and said there would be no increased risk as long as my clotting factor is normal. They want my gp to test my heart and lungs as well. I was curious about my clotting factor anyway, so I guess this will be good. She wants to do the surgery in the surgery center by the hospital, though she normally does it as outpatient, but in my case due to other factors she wants to be there in case there are other issues.

  • Hi Notor,

    I've had surgery, think I was out for four hours, my clotting factor was fine and everything went really well. My gastro says my PBC is mild (whatever that is...) and everything was very thoroughly checked. Going under is always a question of taking a risk but I wasn't worried. I think they can use drugs that are easier on the liver. Keep asking questions if you feel worried. In my case I was sick of the issue I had, and then it did not get better right away but it took 5-6 months for things to improve. Now I am glad I went through with it, for the past month or so I have had moments when I have felt strong again.... Then the next day fatigue, itch and joint pain hit me again - but those moments, they are gold!

    Good luck!


  • I've had 7 ops with anesethia without them knowing about PBC I was diagnosed later (months not years). I'm fine but at least they're checking xxxx all the best.

  • I had delicate ear surgery that lasted 3 hours two years ago, the surgeon checked with the gastro so I think that's most likely the normal thing to do. I was out of hospital the next day as they planned. I did feel very washed out for a couple of weeks but all went extreamly well. Hope all goes well for you let us know how you get on. Best wishes x

  • I had major surgery in January and have PBC. Coincidentally days before my op I had a Gastro appointment, I asked my specialist about any potential complications, he reassured me that there was no additional significant risk from PBC and this turned out to be the case. I also have diabetes and there was a bit of a delay in the healing process afterwards but this was not PBC related. If your surgeon is going to discuss your PBC with your Gastro specialist, I would take this as reassurance that they will be ready for any eventuality and be more concerned if they weren't talking to each other. Hope all goes well for you. Take Care.

  • Hi I've had this surgery when I had PBC albeit undiagnosed. My thyroid had to be removed as it was enlarged and pressing against my windpipe. My PBC was only diagnosed after this op, although the consultant thought I had had it for about 5yrs. I have only had surgery twice in my life (thankfully) and I have been very sick with the anaesthetic, however, that is nothing to do with the PBC, the drugs just don't agree with me. The thyroidectomy was a complete success and, to the best of my knowledge the anaesthetic had no impact on my liver. I hope this helps. Good luck with the op.

  • Thanks everyone. My ENT and Gastro have been very helpful so far and are taking things seriously. Yvonne I am glad they are being cautious with my liver issues and not being haphazard. I'm sure that would be much more scary if I wasn't sure about the person doing the surgery. Tigger, other than the nausea for the anesthetic, how was your recovery from this surgery?

  • I had a partial thyroidectomy 10 years ago.i wasn't diagnosed then but could've had pbc.it was to remove a huge lump which turned out not to be cancerous.i was advised not to do anything for a week-not even pick a plate up but I was back at work in three weeks.i found I was allergic to the plaster they put on my neck so had to remove it in 24 hours.i wish you good luck and try not to worry.talk your fears out anytime x

You may also like...