Thyroid Nodule Surgery

When Thyroid Surgery is Required?

Thyroid nodules mostly aren’t serious & don’t cause symptoms. Thyroid surgery decision depends on the type of nodule. Thyroid Surgery is the best treatment for thyroid nodules that are:

  • Cancerous (malignant)nodule

  • Suspected to be cancerous or indeterminate nodule.

  • Large nodule causing pressure symptoms problems with breathing or swallowing or change in voice

  • Nodule causing Hyperthyroidism not treatable by medicine or radioactive iodine

  • A fluid-filled (cystic) nodule returns after being drained once or twice.

What are Types of Thyroid Surgery?

Thyroid Surgery is 3 types:

Total thyroidectomy: Entire thyroid gland may be removed for-

  • Graves

  • Cancer thyroid

Near Total (Subtotal Thyroidectomy): surgeon removes one lobe , isthmus and part of other lobe of thyroid. Used for hyperthyroidism caused by graves’ disease

Thyroid Lobectomy: Hemi Thyroidectomy: partial thyroid removal is done for

  • Toxic nodule

  • Enlarging thyroid nodule located in one lobe

What to Expect in Thyroid Surgery and Postoperatively?

Mostly done under General anesthesia but can be done under local anesthesia.

Surgery usually takes 1-2 hours. Incision (cut) is given in the neck or may be done through smaller incision (Minimally invasive video assisted thyroidectomy).

Usually one or 2 days stay in hospital is enough

Usual pain killers are given to minimize pain associated with any surgery

Most people return to work within first week of surgery.

Heavy weight lifting and vigorous activity is to be avoided for 1 week

What are the Risk of Thyroid Surgery?

Thyroid surgery is usually a safe surgery. Risk may include-

  • Bleeding

  • Infection

  • Change of voice (hoarseness): if nerves that control voice is damaged.

  • Temporary voice change may occur in about 3% patient.

  • Hypoparathyroidism: if parathyroid are removed /damaged mistakenly

  • Hypothyroidism : expected complication in total thyroidectomy

  • Thyrotoxic storm: may result from manipulation of thyroid gland during surgery in patient with hyperthyroidism

Life After Thyroid Surgery

You will be able to lead a normal life after thyroid surgery, once you recover from the effects of surgery. Many patients become hypothyroid after surgery so thyroid hormone is given lifelong.


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