General information:

The thyroid gland is a butterfly shaped organ which lies at the base of your neck and over the front of the windpipe (trachea). Its predominant function is to produce hormones (T3 and T4) which help maintain metabolism in the body.

Reasons for surgery:

  • Cancer or suspicion for cancer
    • Atypical biopsy
    • Nodules>4cm
    • Growth or number of nodules
    • Abnormal imaging including ultrasound CT or PET scans
  •  Overactivity:
    • Graves disease
    • Toxic multnodular goiter
    • Toxic adenoma
  • Compressive symptoms
    • swallowing difficulties
    • breathing issues
    • changes to voice
    • tightness in throat
  • Cosmetic appearance

Treatment

Surgery to remove the gland can involve removal of either half (hemithyroidectomy) or all of the gland (total thyroidectomy) depending on the clinical situation. A hospital admission of 1-2 days is usually required and patients will need to take 1 to 2 weeks off work post surgery.

Long term thyroxine replacement is required for all total thyroidectomy patient and up to 10% of hemithyroidectomy patients.