If you have been diagnosed with thyroid nodules or thyroid cancer, you may be offered surgery. There are different types of surgery available depending on whether you have nodules or cancer, the type of cancer and the stage it is at.
Partial Thyroid Lobectomy
This is where a small portion of the thyroid gland is removed. It is usually only done to remove benign lumps.
This procedure is done if you have non-cancerous nodules. The half of the thyroid gland that contains the nodules will be removed. Although this is done with a general anaesthetic, it is a fairly simple operation and you may be allowed to go home the same day.
Thyroid Lobectomy with Isthmusectomy
This operation is similar to the thyroid lobectomy except that the isthmus (the connection between the lobes) is also removed. It is sometimes done instead of a thyroid lobectomy to make sure that enough tissue has been removed to resolve the health concern. It is a technique that can be used for small cancers that aren’t aggressive.
This is when three-quarters of the thyroid gland is removed, all of the affected lobe, the isthmus and most of the opposite lobe. This is done if you have a small cancer or goiter that is causing neck problems.
This is when the entire thyroid gland is removed. This is done for more aggressive, larger tumors. Many surgeons, however, opt for this type of surgery no matter what your stage of cancer, to stop the cancer spreading.
How is the Surgery Carried Out?
The surgeon will make an incision in the lower central neck, 3-5 inches long and remove part or all of the thyroid gland through that. Then the incision will be sewn up.
Small, partial removals may be done as a day case. For larger operations, you should expect to stay in hospital for two days.
Complications of Thyroid Surgery