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Thyroid gland removal

What is thyroid gland?

What is thyroid gland?
What is thyroid gland?

The butterfly shaped thyroid gland is located both-sides of the neck. The function of the thyroid gland is to produce hormones that regulate the metabolism and it is also responsible fot keeping the organs functioning properly and helping the body conserve heat.

An enlarged thyroid gland can obstruct the throat and causes many symptoms.

Why is a thyroid gland removal needed?

Surgery is needed to treat disorders for example when nodules or swelling appear. Thyroid gland removal is used to treat thyroid disorders, such as cancer, noncancerous enlargement of the thyroid (goiter) and overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism). Surgery can be an option if you have an overactive thyroid that produces too much hormones (thyroxine), and when it is not possible to treat it with anti-thyroid drugs or radioactive iodine therapy.

What are the types of thyroid gland removal?

  • Partial thyroid gland removal
    When a nodule, inflammation, or swelling affects only half of the thyroid gland, the doctor will remove only one of the two lobes (thyroid lobectomy). The part left behind should retain some or all of its function.
  • Near total (subtotal) removal
    A subtotal thyroidectomy removes the thyroid gland, but leaves behind a small amount of thyroid tissue, which preserves some thyroid function. Many individuals who undergo this type of surgery develop hypothyroidism, a condition that occurs when the thyroid doesn’t produce enough hormones. This can be easily treated with daily hormone supplements.
  • Total thyroidectomy
    A total thyroidectomy removes the entire thyroid and the thyroid tissue. This surgery is appropriate when nodules, swelling, or inflammation affect the entire thyroid gland, or when cancer is present. If your entire thyroid is removed, you need daily treatment with thyroid hormone to replace your thyroid’s natural function.

How does the procedure work?

The thyroid gland removal is also known as thyroidectomy and it is performed under general anaesthesia. It’s important not to eat or drink anything after midnight before your surgery. The surgeon will make an incision over the thyroid gland and carefully remove all or part of the gland. Because the thyroid is small and surrounded by nerves and glands, the procedure may take two hours or more.

What are the benefits and risks of the operation?

Surgery to remove the thyroid gland is well tolerated and has low complication rates. The aim of the surgery is to bring symptom relief and prevent further, more serious diseases that could be caused by an abnormally functioning thyroid gland.
As with every major surgery, thyroid surgery carries the risk of an adverse reaction to the general anesthetic. Other risks include infection, bleeding, weak voice or hypoparathyroidism.

Am I a good candidate for thyroid gland removal?

A total thyroidectomy is the only option that gives an immediate cure of hyperthyroidism. Another case where surgery is the viable option for you is if the hyperthyroidism was caused by a hot nodule. A hot nodule (also known as a toxic nodule) refers to a nodule that produces excess thyroid hormone because it doesn’t obey the pituitary’s signals to stop producing thyroid hormone. This can result in hyperthyroidism. Depending on the location of the nodule, the surgeon can remove the lobe that contains the hot nodule. This leaves part of your thyroid intact, which will usually be enough to supply your body with healthy amounts of hormones.

Please note that at Medicover Hospital we do not operate cancerous enlargements.

How should I prepare for the surgery?

It is very important that the thyroid function has to be well regulated. Therefore, you and your endocrinologist need to set your thyroid level before being operated.

What shall I do after the surgery?

A day after the surgery the drain will be removed from your neck. A new blood test will be made to check your calcium level.
After the surgery you most likely need to take daily thyroid hormone in order to replace the natural function and keep your body working properly. To help bring your hormone levels into balance it may take several adjustments and blood tests to find the best medication dosage for you.

Why is regular check-up important after thyroid gland removal?

Post-operative regular check-ups are very important to make sure your metabolism works correctly and to control your medication dosage.