A thyroidectomy is an operation that involves the surgical removal of all or part of the thyroid gland. Surgeons often perform a thyroidectomy when a patient has thyroid cancer or some other condition of the thyroid gland or goiter. Other indications for surgery include cosmetic, or symptomatic obstruction. Thyroidectomy is a common surgical procedure that has several potential complications or sequela including: temporary or permanent change in voice, temporary or permanently low calcium, need for lifelong thyroid hormone replacement, bleeding, infection, and the remote possibility of airway obstruction due to bilateral vocal cord paralysis. Complications are uncommon when the procedure is performed by an experienced surgeon. The thyroid produces several hormones, such as thyroxine, triiodothyronine, and calcitonin.
After the removal of a thyroid, patients usually take a prescribed oral synthetic thyroid hormone - levothyroxine - to prevent hypothyroidism. Less extreme variants of thyroidectomy include: "hemithyroidectomy" -- removing only half of the thyroid "isthmectomy" -- removing the band of tissue connecting the two lobes of the thyroid A "thyroidectomy" should not be confused with a "thyroidotomy", which is a cutting into the thyroid, not a removal of it. A thyroidotomy can be performed to get access for a median laryngotomy, or to perform a biopsy.
Indications Thyroid cancer Toxic thyroid nodule Multinodular goiter, especially if there is compression of nearby structures Graves' disease, especially if there is exophthalmos Thyroid nodule, if fine needle aspirate results are unclear Types of Thyroidectomy Hemithyroidectomy - Entire isthmus is removed along with 1 lobe. Done in benign diseases of only 1 lobe. Subtotal thyroidectomy - Done in toxic thyroid, primary or secondary, and also for toxic multinodular goiter. Partial thyroidectomy - Removal of gland in front of trachea after mobilization. Done in nontoxic MNG. Its role is controversial.
Near total thyroidectomy - Both lobes are removed except for a small amount of thyroid tissue in the vicinity of the recurrent laryngeal nerve entry point and the superior parathyroid gland.*Total thyroidectomy - Entire gland is removed. Done in cases of papillary or follicular carcinoma of thyroid, medullary carcinoma of thyroid. Hartley Dunhill operation - Removal of 1 entire lateral lobe with isthmus and partial/subtotal removal of opposite lateral lobe. Done in nontoxic MNG.
Complications Hypothyroidism/Thyroid insufficiency in up to 50% of patients after ten years Laryngeal nerve injury in about 1% of patients, in particular the recurrent laryngeal nerve: Unilateral damage results in a hoarse voice. Bilateral damage presents as laryngeal obstruction after surgery and can be a surgical emergency: an emergency tracheostomy may be needed. Recurrent Laryngeal nerve injury may occur during the ligature of the inferior thyroid artery. Hypoparathyroidism temporary in many patients, but permanent in about 1-4% of patients Anesthetic complications Infection Stitch granuloma Chyle leak Haemorrhage/Hematoma Removal or devascularization of the parathyroids References ^ Mathur AK and GM Doherty. "Ch. 1: Thyroidectomy and Neck Dissection". In Minter RM and GM Doherty. Current Procedures: Surgery.
New York: McGraw-Hill. External links Patient brochure from the American Thyroid Association Surgical procedures Comprehensible and elaborate information from the New York Thyroid Center Article at Endocrineweb, written by an MD Goes into more detail Early postoperative scar images Thyroid Surgery Tutorial From the Patient Education Institute Minimally invasive and daycase thyroid surgery Comprehensive information from a UK Specialist Surgeon.
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