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Thyroidectomy is the surgical removal of all or part of the thyroid gland. This gland is in the neck. It produces hormones that regulate metabolism. The surgery may be a:
- Total or near-total thyroidectomy—all of the thyroid is removed
- Thyroid lobectomy or partial thyroidectomy—removal of only a part of the thyroid (the right or left lobe and/or center)
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All or part of the thyroid gland may be surgically removed for any of the following reasons:
- Overactive thyroid ( hyperthyroidism ) due to Graves disease or an over-functioning nodule
- Enlarged thyroid (goiter) causing significant symptoms because of its size
- Thyroid nodule(s) are suspicious or cause concern for thyroid cancer
- Thyroid cancer
Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have a thyroidectomy, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:
- Damage to the parathyroid gland, which controls calcium metabolism (could lead to nerve and heart problems)
- Voice changes due to damage to nerves leading to the voice box (rare)
- Thyrotoxic crisis (sudden excessive release of thyroid hormone at toxic levels) (very rare)
Some factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
- Severity of hyperthyroidism
- Size of goiter
- Poor nutrition
- Long-term illness
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