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Treat Thyroid Disorders
& Restore Optimal Health

Thyroidectomy is a procedure that removes part or all of the thyroid gland, a butterfly-shaped organ located in the front of the neck. The thyroid plays a crucial role in regulating various bodily functions, including metabolism and hormone production. When it malfunctions due to thyroid cancer, goiter, or severe hyperthyroidism, a thyroidectomy may be necessary.

During the procedure, you’ll be under general anesthesia, ensuring you’re unconscious and pain-free throughout. The surgeon makes an incision in your neck, carefully accessing and removing the thyroid gland. Depending on the extent of the thyroid disorder, only a portion of the gland may be excised (partial thyroidectomy) or the entire gland (total thyroidectomy). Post-surgery, you may require lifelong thyroid hormone replacement therapy to maintain optimal hormone levels and support your body’s functions.

Thyroidectomy Treats:

  • Persistent thyroid nodules or growths
  • Difficulty swallowing or breathing due to thyroid enlargement
  • Unexplained hoarseness or voice changes
  • Thyroid cancer diagnosis or suspicion
  • Severe hyperthyroidism not controlled by medication
  • Recurrent thyroiditis or inflammation of the thyroid gland
  • Presence of Graves’ disease, particularly if causing complications
  • Development of thyroid-related eye problems (in cases of Graves’ disease)
  • Consistent thyroid hormone imbalances despite medical management

The Types of Thyroidectomy

Total Thyroidectomy

Total thyroidectomy involves the complete removal of your thyroid gland. This surgical procedure is recommended for conditions such as thyroid cancer, severe hyperthyroidism, or large goiters. During the surgery, your surgeon removes the entire thyroid gland through an incision in your neck, ensuring all thyroid tissue is excised. Following total thyroidectomy, you will require lifelong hormone replacement therapy to maintain proper thyroid hormone levels.

Hemithyroidectomy

Hemithyroidectomy involves the surgical removal of one lobe (half) of your thyroid gland. This procedure is commonly performed when there’s a specific abnormality, such as a thyroid nodule or tumor, located within one lobe. By removing only the affected portion, your surgeon preserves as much thyroid function as possible. After hemithyroidectomy, your remaining thyroid lobe compensates for the lost function, minimizing the need for lifelong hormone therapy.

Advantages of Thyroidectomy:

  • Effective treatment for thyroid cancer, eliminating cancerous tissue
  • Resolves symptoms associated with an enlarged thyroid gland
  • Provides definitive treatment for hyperthyroidism
  • Reduces the risk of recurrence of goiter and thyroid nodules
  • Allows for accurate staging and monitoring of thyroid cancer post-surgery
  • Offers potential relief from discomfort or pain caused by thyroid disorders
  • Can improve the overall quality of life for individuals suffering from chronic thyroid conditions

Thyroidectomy FAQs

What is the thyroid gland, and what does it do?

The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped organ in the front of your neck. Its primary function is to produce hormones that regulate metabolism, growth, and energy levels in your body. These hormones, known as thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), play essential roles in various bodily functions, including heart rate, digestion, and body temperature regulation.

What should I expect during the thyroidectomy procedure?

Thyroidectomy is typically performed under general anesthesia, meaning you’ll be unconscious throughout the procedure. Your surgeon will make an incision in your neck, usually along a natural skin crease, to access the thyroid gland. Depending on the type of thyroidectomy, they will remove either part or all of the thyroid gland. The surgery generally takes a few hours.

How long does it take to recover from a thyroidectomy?

Generally, you can expect to spend a day or two in the hospital for monitoring and pain management. Most people can resume normal activities within a few weeks, although strenuous activities may need to be avoided for a longer period. Your provider will offer specific post-operative instructions and monitor your progress during follow-up appointments.

Will I need to take medication after thyroidectomy?

If the entire thyroid gland is removed, you will need to take thyroid hormone replacement medication for the rest of your life. This ensures your body has an adequate supply of thyroid hormones to regulate metabolism and other bodily functions.

How will thyroidectomy affect my voice and swallowing?

In some cases, thyroidectomy can cause temporary changes in voice or difficulty swallowing, especially if the surgery involves manipulating the recurrent laryngeal nerve or if there’s swelling in the area. However, these symptoms typically resolve within a few weeks as the area heals. Permanent changes in voice may occur in rare cases.

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Alaska Facial Plastic Surgery and ENT is a distinguished practice boasting the expertise of doctors with combined fellowships in facial plastic and reconstructive surgery, advanced head and neck oncology, and rhinology/skullbase surgery. Our elite team of experts collaborates closely to ensure exceptional outcomes for our patients. If you’re considering a thyroidectomy, schedule your consultation with our skilled professionals today.

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