A thyroidectomy is surgery to remove half (thyroid lobectomy) or your entire (total thyroidectomy) thyroid gland.
Research has proven that the chance of having a safe and successful thyroid surgery depends on the experience of the surgeon.
Many patients can have an outpatient procedure and go home the same day of surgery. Surgery is performed under general anesthesia.
All patients will have a pre-operative thyroid ultrasound and possibly a thyroid biopsy, performed by Dr. Goldfarb to determine the extent of surgery. A small group of patients may also require evaluation of their vocal cords before their thyroidectomy.
Half of the thyroid (or one lobe) is removed along with the middle part of the thyroid that connects the two lobes (the isthmus). This type of thyroid surgery is generally performed for a benign thyroid nodule, thyroid cyst, or unilateral goiter that is causing symptoms, for a thyroid nodule with an “indeterminate” biopsy or a low-risk mutation, or a small low-risk thyroid cancer.
The entire thyroid gland is removed. This type of thyroid surgery is performed for patients with larger (>2cm) known thyroid papillary or follicular cancers, all medullary thyroid cancers, Graves’ disease , a multinodular toxic goiter, an indeterminate lesion with a high-risk mutation, or when nodules >1cm are in both lobes and the decision for surgery has been made for one of the above reasons.
Occasionally, patients with thyroid cancer will need to have a repeat thyroid surgery at some future time to remove recurrent or residual thyroid tissue/cancer.
A central neck dissection is when the lymph nodes closest to your thyroid in the central part of your neck are removed during your thyroidectomy.
This is done whenever abnormal lymph nodes are identified on ultrasound before surgery. Sometimes, for patients with larger and/or more extensive papillary thyroid cancer and for all medullary thyroid cancer, this lymph node surgery will be done prophylactically.