Thyroidectomy

Thyroidectomy is the removal of all or part of your thyroid gland. Your thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of your neck. It produces hormones that regulate every aspect of your metabolism, from your heart rate to how quickly you burn calories.

Thyroidectomy is used to treat thyroid disorders, such as cancer, 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 surgery. If only a portion is removed (partial thyroidectomy), your thyroid may be able to function normally after surgery. If your entire thyroid is removed (total thyroidectomy), you need daily treatment with thyroid hormone to replace your thyroid's natural function.


Why it's done Risks How you prepare What you can expect Results

A thyroidectomy may be recommended for conditions such as:

  • Thyroid cancer. Cancer is the most common reason for thyroidectomy. If you have thyroid cancer, removing most, if not all, of your thyroid will likely be a treatment option.
  • Noncancerous enlargement of the thyroid (goiter). Removing all or part of your thyroid gland is an option if you have a large goiter that is uncomfortable or causes difficulty breathing or swallowing or, in some cases, if the goiter is causing hyperthyroidism.
  • Overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism). Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which your thyroid gland produces too much of the hormone thyroxine. If you have problems with anti-thyroid drugs and don't want radioactive iodine therapy, thyroidectomy may be an option.
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