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Total Thyroidectomy

The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland located inside the front of the lower neck, which regulates your metabolism. Thyroid gland removal is done to remove all or part of the thyroid gland if it poses a threat to your health. Your doctor may recommend thyroid removal if you have any of the following:

  • a small thyroid growth (nodule or cyst)
  • an overactive thyroid gland
  • cancer of the thyroid
  • noncancerous tumors of the thyroid that are causing various symptoms
  • thyroid swelling

During the procedure, the surgeon makes a 3- to 4-inch cut in the middle of your neck, right on top of the thyroid gland. All or part of the gland is removed through the cut, depending on the surgery you require (partial or total thyroidectomy). A small tube may be placed into the area to help drain blood and other fluids that build up, but it will be removed in 1 or 2 days. Surgery to remove your whole thyroid may take up to 4 hours.

You may need to undergo a few tests that show exactly where the abnormal thyroid growth is located. You may have a CT scan, ultrasound, or other imaging tests. A fine needle aspiration might also be performed to find out whether the growth is noncancerous or cancerous. Before surgery, your vocal cord function may be checked and you may also need thyroid medicine or iodine treatments 1 to 2 weeks before your surgery.

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