The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland located at the back of your neck. It produces hormones that regulate your metabolism. Thyroid surgery (also known as thyroidectomy) removes all or part of the thyroid gland. It is frequently used to treat thyroid cancer, goiter, or an overactive thyroid.
Suspicion of cancer is the most common reason for removing most or your entire thyroid.
Noncancerous Enlargement of the Thyroid
Other reasons for surgery include reducing the size of an enlarge goiter that cause cosmetic, breathing or swallowing problems.
What to Expect
Ultrasound is the most common investigation for thyroid masses or enlargement. It is more accurate for evaluation of thyroid masses than CT or MRI. Occasionally, CT or MRI will be used to look for enlarged lymph nodes in the neck. If a thyroid mass is identified, an ultrasound guided biopsy will usually be performed. This biopsy will allow your surgeon to determine if further treatment is required or if the nodule can be safely watched. Routine thyroid blood work is usually performed, but most thyroid masses do not affect the function of the thyroid.
Treatment – Surgery
There are multiple thyroid surgeries. Your surgeon will discuss the different options and recommend the best treatment for you. In some case a minimally invasive approach may be considered.
Lobectomy: Removing half of thyroid gland.
Total Thyroidectomy: Complete removal of the thyroid gland.
Often the thyroid cancer is cured by surgery alone. If the cancer has spread to lymph nodes or if your doctor feels you are at high risk for recurrent cancer, radioactive iodine can be used to destroy thyroid cancer cells.
Many patients, after total thyroidectomy, become hypothyroid (insufficient production of thyroid hormones) and will require treatment with thyroid hormone.
See also: Parathyroid Surgery
Why Choose Us?
Our Otolaryngologist–Head and Neck Surgeons have extensive experience in head and neck surgery and are internationally recognized experts in the surgical treatment of thyroid and parathyroid disease. Our state-of-the art health care facility employs the safest surgical techniques, using only the most advanced medical technology.
Thyroid Surgery FAQ
When is surgery an option?
Surgery is almost always recommended for cancer and has excellent cure rates. Many other thyroid conditions are also treated primarily with surgery.
What causes thyroid cancer?
Thyroid cancer is most common in patients who have a family history of thyroid cancer, and are older than 40 years old. Exposure to radiation, especially in children, can cause thyroid cancer. However, most cases of thyroid cancer develop in people without any known risk factors.