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What is a thyroidectomy?

Thyroidectomy

A thyroidectomy is the surgical removal of a diseased thyroid gland. Your thyroid gland is located in the front of your neck, below your larynx (voice box). It consists of two lobes, one on each side of your trachea (windpipe). Your thyroid gland plays an important role in regulating your body's metabolism and calcium balance. A thyroidectomy is a treatment for a variety of diseases, disorders and conditions of the thyroid gland.

A thyroidectomy is a common but major surgery with serious risks and potential complications. You may have less invasive treatment options. Consider getting a second opinion about all your treatment choices before having a thyroidectomy.

Types of thyroidectomy

The types of thyroidectomy procedures include:

  • Lobectomy or partial thyroidectomy removes one lobe or only a portion of your thyroid gland.
  • Lumpectomy removes only a small portion of your thyroid gland. This procedure is a treatment for small, benign (non-cancerous) thyroid nodules or cysts.
  • Sub-total or near-total thyroidectomy removes almost all of your thyroid gland, leaving behind a very small amount of thyroid tissue.
  • Total or completion thyroidectomy removes all thyroid tissue. A completion thyroidectomy refers to the removal of any remaining thyroid tissue after you have had a previous lobectomy or partial thyroidectomy.

Other procedures that may be performed

Your doctor may perform other procedures in addition to a thyroidectomy. This includes a lymphadenectomy or the removal or biopsy sampling of lymph nodes. Your doctor may perform this procedure for confirmed or suspected thyroid cancer.

Medical Reviewers: Daphne E. Hemmings, MD, MPH Last Review Date: Jul 14, 2013

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View Sources

Medical References

After Thyroidectomy. BetterMedicine. http://www.bettermedicine.com/topic/thyroid-cancer/after-thyroidectomy. Accessed June 16, 2013.
Pile, JC. Evaluating postoperative fever: A focused approach. Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine. 2006;73 (Suppl 1):S62. http://ccjm.org/content/73/Suppl_1/S62.full.pdf. Accessed June 16, 2013.
Thyroid Surgery. American thyroid Association. http://www.thyroid.org/why-thyroid-surgery/. Accessed June 16, 2013.
Thyroidectomy. Cleveland Clinic. http://my.clevelandclinic.org/services/thyroidectomy/hic_thyroidectomy.aspx. Accessed June 16, 2013.

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