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Thyroid Surgery 

Thyroidectomy

An Endocrine Surgeon is the specialist who performs a thyroidectomy. A total thyroidectomy is recommended for thyroid cancer, restriction caused by an enlarged thyroid gland pressing on the windpipe, oesophagus or nerves. Surgery is also performed when a patient has a suspicious nodule(s), which could be malignant or an uncontrollable overactive thyroid gland. This procedure is done as an inpatient in hospital and you are usually in hospital for two days. You will have a small scar in the lower part of the centre of your neck, just above the sternum or breastbone.

There are two types of thyroidectomy:

  • Total Thyroidectomy – The total removal of the thyroid gland
  • Hemi Thyroidectomy – The partial (one lobe) removal of the thyroid gland

After surgery you will usually be prescribed thyroid replacement hormone, thyroxine to take each day. In some cases where only a single lobe is removed, you may not need to take thyroxine. However, the ATF recommend regular thyroid function pathology monitoring by your General Practitioner or Endocrinologist of your thyroid hormone levels is important.

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The back of your neck will probably be more uncomfortable than the front. This is due to the position your head is placed during surgery. The ATF advise taking a triangle shaped pillow (boomerang) with you to hospital. The support from this type of pillow will help to relieve neck discomfort.

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