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Thyroid Surgery - When Should You Consider Going For It?

Written and reviewed by
MCh - Pediatric Surgery, MRCS, MS - General Surgery, Fellowship in Minimal Access Surgery(FMAS) & Reproductive Medicine, MBBS
General Surgeon, Hyderabad  •  20years experience
Thyroid Surgery - When Should You Consider Going For It?

The thyroid gland is located on the front base of the neck and its shape is like a butterfly. The thyroid gland plays a significant role in our body by secreting several hormones that are collectively called as thyroid hormones. These hormones regulate different processes throughout the body such as influencing the metabolism, body temperature and keeping the other organs to function properly. Sometimes, the thyroid gland is affected by various disorders such as goiter (enlargement of the thyroid gland), hyperthyroidism (over-production of thyroid hormone), hypothyroidism (insufficient production of thyroid hormone), and thyroid cancer. Thyroid surgery is also called, thyroidectomy and is used to treat thyroid disorders.

Here are some common reasons why thyroid surgery is advised:

  1. Thyroid cancerCancer of the thyroid gland is one of the most common reasons to perform the thyroid surgery. Depending on the conditions and stage of cancer, removal of most of the part of the thyroid gland, if not all, is considered as the treatment option. Surgery is considered an imperative option when small nodules or tumors are present in the gland and some of these nodules are precancerous or cancerous.
  2. Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid): The second reason of thyroidectomy is hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism is the condition in which thyroid gland produces a large amount of thyroxine hormone (it is the main hormone of the thyroid gland). If the patients don’t respond to the other treatment options such as anti-thyroid medications or if they don’t want to undergo radioactive iodine therapy, thyroid surgery may be a right option.
  3. Goiter (enlargement of thyroid gland): Another reason of thyroidectomy is the enlargement of the thyroid gland. The condition, in which thyroid gland swells or enlarges, is known as goiter. In the condition of goiter, the benign nodules become large enough to cause different problems. Thyroid surgery is the right option for the treatment of these problems that include difficulty in eating, breathing or speaking; the patient feeling uncomfortable, and the overproduction of thyroxine hormone.

Types of thyroid surgeries:
Although there are different types of thyroid surgeries the most common types are:

  1. Lobectomy: It involves removing one of the two lobes of thyroid gland when the inflammation or nodule affects only half of the gland.
  2. Subtotal thyroidectomy: It involves removing the thyroid gland but the surgeon leaves a small amount of thyroid tissue behind.
  3. Total thyroidectomy: It involves removing the complete thyroid gland and thyroid tissue. It is done to treat cancer or when the inflammation affects the entire gland.

Thyroid disorders can be treated with various treatment options but it is better to have a thyroid surgery if the underlying thyroid disorder becomes severe. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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