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Thyroid Removal Surgery (Thyroidectomy)

Underlying Problem Requiring Thyroid Removal Surgery:
The target of a thyroid removal surgery is the large endocrine gland found below the thyroid cartilage of the neck in humans. The thyroid helps the body determine how quickly it should burn energy and how it reacts to various hormones. There are numerous potential problems that can affect the thyroid, many of which fall under either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. In the former case, the gland is underactive, and in the latter, it is overactive. Both can cause significant health problems. Thyroid cancer may lead to a thyroid removal surgery, as can a goiter (which is an enlarged thyroid).

There are three main types of thyroid removal surgery. A total thyroidectomy refers to the complete removal of the thyroid gland and generally takes about an hour and a half. This is the most common of the three surgeries and is often used in the case of cancers, goiter, and Graves. disease. A subtotal or partial thyroidectomy refers to the removal of half of the gland and takes about 45 minutes. Finally, a lobectomy removes only about one quarter of the thyroid.

Thyroid removal surgery will usually be done under a general anesthetic, although a local anesthetic and sedative may also be utilized. An incision will be made in the front of the neck, and then the skin and muscle will be moved aside to expose the thyroid. The blood vessels are then tied off before the thyroid is separated from the trachea and removed.

Whether or not to perform a total or subtotal thyroidectomy can be a difficult decision. Some doctors feel that leaving behind a portion of the gland helps to prevent hypothyroidism after the surgery. A total thyroidectomy, on the other hand, will nearly always cause hypothyroidism. A partial thyroidectomy, however, only seems to show about a 30% improvement.

Recovery from Thyroid Removal Surgery:
Most of the post-operative complaints after thyroid removal surgery are obvious: neck stiffness, painful swallowing, etc. The majority of patients will need to start hormone replacement therapy. Patients will likely be ordered to stay in bed for an entire day and will utilize IV nutrition to avoid needing to swallow. The windpipe may also become irritated for the first several days. After approximately two weeks, patients can generally return to work and other normal activities.

Find Doctors Who Offer Thyroid Removal

Auburn, AL
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Anchorage, AK

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Chattanooga, TN
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Abilene, TX
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Featured Physicians

The following doctors specialize in Thyroid Removal Surgery (Thyroidectomy), and are current with the state-of-the-art in this technology. You can trust them with your care.