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Thyroid Surgery

Thyroid surgery is used to treat:

  • Thyroid nodules
  • Thyroid cancer
  • Hyperthyroidism

During this procedure:

  • Part or all of the thyroid gland is removed
  • An incision is made in the skin
  • The muscle and other tissues are pulled aside to expose the thyroid gland

thyroid surgery diagram

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that sits low on the front of the neck. Your thyroid lies below your Adam’s apple, along the front of the windpipe. The thyroid has two side lobes, connected by a bridge (isthmus) in the middle. When the thyroid is its normal size, you can’t feel it.

Brownish-red in color, the thyroid is rich with blood vessels. Nerves important for voice quality also pass through the thyroid.

The thyroid secretes several hormones, collectively called thyroid hormones. The main hormone is thyroxine, also called T4. Thyroid hormones act throughout the body, influencing metabolism, growth and development, and body temperature. During infancy and childhood, adequate thyroid hormone is crucial for brain development.


Thyroid surgery is generally a safe surgery. But there is a risk of complications, including:
Hoarseness and change of voice. The nerves that control your voice can be damaged during thyroid surgery. The risk of this is roughly 1%.


The 4 tiny parathyroid glands control calcium levels in the body and are situated behind the thyroid gland. If they are damaged or removed in the surgical specimen then patients may have a problem controlling their levels of calcium and will need to take calcium supplements afterwards. This would occur in roughly 1% of patients and is often temporary.

What To Think About

If you have a total thyroidectomy, you would develop hypothyroidism and therefore you will need to take man-made (synthetic) thyroid hormone for the rest of your life. If you have a lobectomy or partial thyroidectomy, you are much less likely to need to take thyroxine afterwards.

You will most likely be treated with radioactive iodine after surgery for thyroid cancer to make sure that all the thyroid tissue and cancer cells are gone.

You may have a lobectomy or partial thyroidectomy if your doctor suspects that a nodule may be cancerous. If you do have cancer, a surgeon usually will do a completion thyroidectomy.

The Hospital Stay

Most patients will be in hospital overnight and able to go back to work 5-7 days later. You would be up and about fairly quickly post op and eating and drinking that night and have a reasonable range of neck movements.

Advance Surgical Perth

Please contact us on 9386 2634 or via email.

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