The thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland present in the neck, draped across the windpipe and just below the voice box. Thyroid gland secretes thyroid hormones, which control metabolism including weight, heart rate and temperature

There are several reasons to have thyroid surgery which include:

– Biopsy proven thyroid cancer

– Thyroid nodules with suspicious or inconclusive FNA (needle biopsy)

– Nodules/goiters causing pressure symptoms, coughing, difficulty swallowing or choking sensation

– Nodules/goiters which continue to grow over time

– Concerns such as size, appearance, family history, or extension into the chest

– Cosmetic reasons, if a large goiter is unsightly

– Treatment of an overactive thyroid

  • Nerves that control the voice are closely associated with the thyroid gland. Temporary voice changes may be common, but usually resolve within weeks to months. In rare cases, that is 1% of thyroid surgeries, the nerve that controls the voice may be permanently injured resulting in hoarseness of voice
  • In few cases, the parathyroid glands may not function temporarily after a total thyroidectomy resulting in hypocalcaemia. Therefore, some patients may require Calcium and Vitamin D tablets on a temporary basis
  • Other risks include bleeding and infection

The extent to which the thyroid is removed depends on the condition for which the thyroid is being removed. When the entire thyroid is removed, the surgery is called a total thyroidectomy and requires thyroid hormone replacement for life. A Hemithyroidectomy is when half of the thyroid (one lobe and isthmus) is removed. In upto 80% of the patients, the remaining half can make sufficient thyroid hormone and thyroid hormone replacement is not required

Thyroidectomy is performed under general anesthesia. The patient will be completely asleep during the surgery

  • Yes. All surgeries result in a scar, and how a patient scars is dependent on the individual skin sensitivity. A thyroid scar is a horizontal scar on the lower neck. The length of the scar depends on the size of the thyroid to be excised
  • It is natural for patients to be concerned over the idea of having a scar. Techniques which we use to minimize scarring include careful incision placement in the natural skin crease, use of hypoallergenic suture material and skin closure with subcuticular sutures
  • In general, it is unusual to have a very noticeable scar after six months, though scars continue to fade for upto three years

Most patients are comfortable after thyroid surgery. You will be able to eat and drink normally, although there may be mild sore throat or discomfort with swallowing

A final histopathology report requires careful study of the surgical specimen and may be available a week after the surgery

Stitches will be present on the inside that dissolve on their own. The wound will be covered with a dressing

In general, the activity level depends on the amount of discomfort experienced by the patient. Many patients resume work in a week or two



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