London Thyroid Surgeons




What is ‘Thyroidectomy’ and why do I need it?

Thyroidectomy is surgery to remove half or all of the thyroid gland.

There are several common reasons to remove part or all of the thyroid gland:

  • To confirm the diagnosis of a lump/nodule in the thyroid
  • To treat thyroid cancer
  • To treat an over-active thyroid that is uncontrolled by radio iodine or medicine
  • To treat enlarged thyroid gland (or ‘goitres’) that are unsightly
  • To remove ‘goitres’ that are affecting your breathing or swallowing or causing general neck discomfort.

How is Thyroid Surgery Usually Performed?

British Thyroid Association National guidelines strongly advocates that thyroid surgery be performed by specific-named thyroid surgeons who perform more than a minimal number of cases annually to ensure best outcomes and lowest complications for the patients. 

In a conventional ‘open’ thyroidectomy, a horizontal incision (approximately 6-8cm) is made in the front of the neck along the collar line. The surgeon then removes half or all of the thyroid gland while taking great care not to injure nearby blood vessels or nerves (that control your voice). Every attempt is also made to preserve the parathyroid glands. Parathyroids are small glands which manufacture a hormone which controls blood calcium levels. Drains are not required in most patients and generally patients are anticipated to be discharged the next day (assuming no complications). Most patients recover rapidly over the following 7-14 days.

There are several sub-types of conventional ‘open’ thyroidectomy:

  • Lobectomy or hemithyroidectomy (removing only half the thyroid gland)
  • Total thyroidectomy (removing all of the thyroid gland)
  • Isthmusectomy (removal of central part of thyroid gland)