CaroMont Surgical Associates

Endocrine Surgery

Thyroidectomy is the surgical removal of all or part of your thyroid gland. Your thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of your neck. It produces hormones that control every aspect of your metabolism, from your heart rate to how quickly you burn calories.

Thyroidectomy is used to treat thyroid disorders, such as cancer, noncancerous enlargement of the thyroid (goiter) and overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism).

How much of your thyroid gland is removed during thyroidectomy depends on the reason for surgery. If you need only part of your thyroid removed (partial thyroidectomy), your thyroid may work normally after surgery. If your entire thyroid is removed (total thyroidectomy), you need daily treatment with thyroid hormone to replace your thyroid's natural function.

Your doctor may recommend a thyroidectomy if you have conditions such as:

  • Thyroid cancer: Cancer is the most common reason for thyroidectomy. If you have thyroid cancer, removing most, if not all, of your thyroid will likely be a treatment option.
  • Noncancerous enlargement of the thyroid (goiter): Removing all or part of your thyroid gland is an option if you have a large goiter that is uncomfortable or causes difficulty breathing or swallowing or, in some cases, if the goiter is causing hyperthyroidism.
  • Overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism): Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which your thyroid gland produces too much of the hormone thyroxine. If you have problems with anti-thyroid drugs and don't want radioactive iodine therapy, thyroidectomy may be an option.
  • Indeterminate or suspicious thyroid nodules: Some thyroid nodules can't be identified as cancerous or noncancerous after testing a sample from a needle biopsy. Doctors may recommend that people with these nodules have thyroidectomy if the nodules have an increased risk of being cancerous.