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WHAT IS THYROIDECTOMY? Thyroidectomy can be dated back to the 12th and 13th centuries as it involves performing surgery on the thyroid gland by partial removal or removing the thyroid gland completely. The thyroid itself has the shape of a butterfly and it is found at the lower part of the neck that secretes hormones […] Read More

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WHAT IS THYROIDECTOMY? Thyroidectomy can be dated back to the 12th and 13th centuries as it involves performing surgery on the thyroid gland by partial removal or removing the thyroid gland completely. The thyroid itself has the shape of a butterfly and it is found at the lower part of the neck that secretes hormones responsible for the metabolism from the heart rhythm to the burning of calories. Thyroidectomy surgery is performed to resolve issues such as a thyroid disorder, it ranges from the cancer of the thyroid gland to an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) to goiter.  The quantity of thyroid to be removed is dependent on why the surgery is performed. Part of the thyroid can be removed and after the surgery, can return to its normal working condition but if all the thyroid is removed special treatments will be required as an alternative to the thyroid for proper secretion of hormones for metabolism. TYPES OF THYROIDECTOMY The types of thyroidectomy include the following:
  • Partial (Subtotal) Thyroidectomy
In the case where just a part of the thyroid is extracted, the other parts of the thyroid present continue to perform the functions so hormonal therapy might not be required.
  • Total (Complete) Thyroidectomy
The whole thyroid is removed for this type, therefore, a drug is known as the “synthetic thyroid hormone levothyroxine” is administered to the patient as the absence of the thyroid can lead to underactive thyroid as nothing is secreting the hormones for metabolism. The drugs perform the same duty as the thyroid. PREPARATION For patients diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, before undergoing the surgery, some medications such as the iodine and potassium solution will be prescribed by the doctor to reduce the risk of bleeding after the surgery and aid the control of the thyroid. It is recommended by the doctor to fast and not drink any liquid over some time before undergoing the surgery and also prevent problems related to the anesthesia. The patient is to wear comfortable clothes and not wear any jewelry THYROIDECTOMY PROCEDURE The process involved with the thyroidectomy is categorized into the before, during, and after processes. These stages are explained below:
  • Before Thyroidectomy
The patient will be placed under anesthesia as it is required for the patient to be unconscious when the surgery begins, this anesthesia is given as a gas to inhale through the mask or the anesthesia is administered by injecting the liquid into the body through the hand.  Then, a tube used for aiding breathing will be inserted into the trachea of the patient to permit regular breathing while the patient is unconscious. Different monitors will be placed on the body of the patient and a blood pressure cuff placed on the arm to monitor the blood oxygen, blood pressure, and heart rhythm to keep it at a stable level all through the surgery.
  • During Thyroidectomy
After the patient has been administered the anesthesia, the patient becomes unconscious, then the surgery begins.  An incision into the lower center of the neck is made and then it is kept in the skin crease so it can not be easily noticed after the operated area heals. After which part or all of the thyroid gland is removed depending on the diagnosed thyroid problem. If thyroid cancer is diagnosed, the lymph nodes are removed for examination. Several ways of performing the thyroidectomy are explained below:
  • Conventional Thyroidectomy
The incision is made at the center of the neck for easy access to the thyroid and these are the most common of all other methods.
  • Transoral Thyroidectomy
This type of thyroidectomy does not require an incision into the throat. It makes use of an incision through the mouth.
  • Endoscopic Thyroidectomy
The endoscopic thyroidectomy makes use of a little incision on the neck whereby, a small camera is inserted afterward to guide the specialist all through the procedure.
  • After Thyroidectomy
After the surgery is performed, the patient is taken to the recovery room where the patient will be strictly monitored for recovery.  When the anesthesia effect wears off, the patient regains consciousness and is taken to the hospital bed. For some patients, a drain is placed just beneath the incision and is removed the following morning after the surgery. The patient can eat and drink afterward then returning home is dependent on the surgery which was performed on the patient, for some patients, it is advisable to stay overnight. DURATION Thyroidectomy surgery takes about one to two hours to complete depending on the type of surgery that was performed on the patient. RISK Complications associated with thyroidectomy surgery are listed below:
  1. Infection.
  2. Bleeding.
  3. Obstruction of the airway as a result of excess bleeding.
  4. Shortage of parathyroid hormonal levels.
  5. A weak voice from nerve damage.
RECOVERY RATE The recovery rate for the thyroidectomy is eminent as the patient recovers with just a little mortality rate of 0.065%. SPECIALTY A well-trained surgeon is liable to perform thyroidectomy surgery on the patient. COST The cost of thyroidectomy ranges from $4600 to $6100 depending on the type of surgery and the time spent in the hospital.



All patients can undergo thyroidectomy surgery as long as the thyroid gland is affected. Though thyroidectomy can be performed on a pregnant woman, pregnant women should wait till after delivery to prevent infection and other complications.



Thyroidectomy is performed for some reasons associated with the thyroid gland, these reasons are explained below:

  • Thyroid Cancer

A patient can be diagnosed with cancer in the thyroid, this cancer can be removed by thyroidectomy. Undergoing the surgery, removal of all or some of the thyroid is considered the treatment of thyroid cancer.

  • Goiter

The goiter is the expansion of the thyroid which has no cancer affiliated with it. As the thyroid cancer, some or all removal of the thyroid can be a treatment method. This enlargement can result in difficulties of swallowing or breathing or even an overactive thyroid.

  • Hyperthyroidism

This is also known as the overactive thyroid, these can occur due to the goiter but in most cases, it is as a result of excessive excretion of hormones by the thyroid gland. 

The hormone responsible for this action is thyroxine, drugs can be used for this but patients with possible reactions to anti-thyroid drugs and resists radioactive iodine therapy resort to thyroidectomy.

  • Indeterminate or Suspicious Thyroid Nodules

Some thyroids are unexplainable when testing is done by removal of the sample by the needle biopsy. These thyroid nodules are not specific, it can not be said to be cancerous or non-cancerous. Therefore, the doctor recommends a thyroidectomy.


Does thyroidectomy affect life expectancy?

As long as the medications prescribed by the doctor are adhered to, the treatment is safe and it does not affect life expectancy.

Has anyone died from thyroid surgery?

The thyroidectomy has a mortality rate of 0.065%, therefore, death resulting from the surgery is rare with just approximately 7 deaths recorded in a 10,000 surgery.

What foods to avoid if you have no thyroid?

Soy foods, vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, or spinach are to be avoided if the thyroid has been removed. Also, sweet potatoes, cassava, strawberries, peanuts, and millet are to be avoided.

What happens if you have no thyroid and don't take medicine?

Possible heart disease, low body temperature, weakness in the muscle, depression, fatigue can occur when medications are not taken.

What are the side effects of too much thyroid medication?

Rise in blood pressure, anxiety, nervousness, difficulty concentrating, irritation, fatigue, and insomnia can all happen if the medication for the thyroid is abused.