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Thyroidectomy 1


Thyroidectomy is the surgical removal of all or part of your thyroid gland. Your thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the front of your neck. It makes hormones that control every part of your metabolism, from your heart rate to how quickly you burn calories. Healthcare providers perform thyroidectomy to treat thyroid disorders. These include cancer, a noncancerous enlargement of the thyroid (goiter), and overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism). How much of your thyroid gland is removed during thyroidectomy depends on the reason for the surgery. If you need only part of your thyroid removed (partial thyroidectomy), your thyroid may work normally after surgery. If you need your entire thyroid removed (total thyroidectomy), you need daily treatment with thyroid hormone to replace your thyroid's natural function.
Thyroidectomy scaled

Procedure Primary Points

  • Thyroidectomy removes part or all of the thyroid gland.
  • It treats thyroid disorders like cancer, goiter, and hyperthyroidism.
  • The extent of gland removal varies based on the reason.
  • Partial thyroidectomy allows normal thyroid function post-surgery.
  • Total thyroidectomy requires daily hormone treatment for function replacement.

Why it's done

Your doctor may recommend thyroidectomy if you have conditions such as:
  • Thyroid cancer. Cancer is the most common reason for thyroidectomy. If you have thyroid cancer, removing most or all of your thyroid will likely be a treatment option.
  • Noncancerous enlargement of the thyroid (goiter). Removing all or part of your thyroid gland may be an option for a large goiter. A large goiter may be uncomfortable or make it hard to breathe or swallow. A goiter may also be removed if it's causing your thyroid to be overactive.
  • Overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism). In hyperthyroidism, your thyroid gland produces too much of the hormone thyroxine. Thyroidectomy may be an option if you have problems with anti-thyroid drugs, or if you don't want radioactive iodine therapy. These are two other common treatments for hyperthyroidism.
  • Suspicious thyroid nodules. Some thyroid nodules can't be identified as cancerous or noncancerous after testing a sample from a needle biopsy. If your nodules are at increased risk of being cancerous, you may be a candidate for thyroidectomy.
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