Thyroid Treatment and Surgery

Determining the Extent of Surgery

Thyroid surgery is performed for several reasons and can include symptomatic thyroid nodules, recurrent thyroid cysts, goiter, Graves’ disease, and to rule out or treat thyroid cancer. The purpose of thyroid surgery is to remove part or all of the thyroid gland.

The recommendation as to the extent of thyroid surgery can be determined by the reason for the surgery. For instance, a nodule confined to one side of the thyroid may be treated with a hemithyroidectomy. If you are being evaluated for a large bilateral goiter or a large thyroid cancer, then you will probably have a recommendation for a total thyroidectomy. However, the extent of surgery is both a complex medical decision as well as a complex personal decision and can be made during a visit with Dr. Russell T. Snow.

Reasons for Surgery

It may be recommended that you consider thyroid surgery for 4 main reasons:

  • You have a nodule that is possibly thyroid cancer.
  • You have a confirmed diagnosis of thyroid cancer.
  • You have a nodule or goiter that is causing local symptoms – compression of the trachea, difficulty swallowing or a visible or unsightly mass.
  • You have a nodule or goiter that is causing symptoms due to the production and release of excess thyroid hormone – either a toxic nodule, a toxic multinodular goiter or Graves’ disease.

Extent of Surgery

The extent of your thyroid surgery should be discussed by you and your thyroid surgeon and can generally be classified as a partial thyroidectomy or a total thyroidectomy. Removal of part of the thyroid can be classified as:

  • An open thyroid biopsy – a rarely used operation where a nodule is excised directly
  • A hemi-thyroidectomy or thyroid lobectomy – where one lobe (one half) of the thyroid is removed
  • An isthmusectomy – removal of just the bridge of thyroid tissue between the two lobes, used specifically for small tumors that are located in the isthmus
  • A total or near-total thyroidectomy – is removal of all or most of the thyroid tissue

Contact Us

Contact us for an assessment of your thyroid and to determine the best pathway for treatment.