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Thyroid Surgery Scar Barely Noticeable With Minimally Invasive Technique

By Kathy Walsh

DENVER (CBS4) - According to the American Cancer Society, there will be an estimated 62,450 new cases of thyroid cancer in the U.S. in 2016. Of those, 49,350 will be women.

Surgery can leave a very visible scar on the neck, but a doctor in Denver is changing that. Through a minimally invasive technique he is able to make the scar barely noticeable.

Marycela Calderon is a young, upbeat, professional woman. But back in February she didn't feel quite right.

Marycela Calderon
Marycela Calderon is interviewed by CBS4's Kathy Walsh (credit: CBS)

"Just a pain right in the back of my throat," Calderon told CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh.

An ultrasound showed a nodule on her thyroid. A biopsy revealed what Calderon feared.

"I had cancer," she said choking back tears.

(credit: CBS)

The 28-year-old knew she needed it removed, but the surgery scared her.

"I have to live my life with a scar that runs across my whole neck," Calderon said she was thinking.

"She was afraid for the rest of her life she would be labeled or people would stare at her," said Calderon's surgeon, Dr. Ryan Brown.

Dr. Ryan Brown
Dr. Ryan Brown is interviewed by CBS4's Kathy Walsh (credit: CBS)

Brown offered the young woman a better outcome. He is the Chief of Head and Neck Surgery for Kaiser Permanente Colorado. Brown is also a board-certified facial plastic surgeon.

With small instruments and minimally invasive techniques, he can reduce the traditional 4 to 6 centimeter incision.

"I can do the same surgery through an incision that's about a third of the size," Brown said while showing a 2 centimeter mark.

Marycela Calderon
Marycela Calderon with Dr. Ryan Brown (credit: CBS)

Seven months after surgery, Calderon's scar is barely noticeable.

"It's the last thing on my mind," she said.

Calderon is thrilled. She said some people are surprised her scar is so small, but most don't notice a thing.

Kathy Walsh is CBS4's Weekend Anchor and Health Specialist. She has been with CBS4 for more than 30 years. She is always open to story ideas. Follow Kathy on Twitter @WalshCBS4.

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