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What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

What is Thyroidectomy?

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)

The Thyroid Gland
The Thyroid Gland
© 2009 Nucleus Medical Art, Inc.

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

Possible Complications

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)
  • Scarring
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • 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
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Alcoholism
  • Poor nutrition
  • Long-term illness

Call Your Doctor

After you leave the hospital,...