Thyroid Surgeries

Cure Thyroid Problems with Effective Thyroid Surgeries

Thyroid surgery is an effective method to cure thyroid diseases. In this surgical procedure, the thyroid gland is removed partially or completely. This surgical procedure has several potential complications and risks including: temporary or permanent change in voice, temporary or permanent low calcium, and need for a lifelong thyroid hormone replacement, bleeding, infection and the remote possibility of airway obstruction due to bilateral vocal cord paralysis. This surgery is performed to cure thyroid problems if -

  • Thyroid cancer is present or is suspected.

  • A noncancerous (benign) nodule is large enough to cause problems with breathing or swallowing.

  • A fluid-filled (cystic) nodule returns after being drained once or twice.
Hyperthyroidism is detected, which cannot be cured with medicines or radioactive iodine.

Specialists decide to remove the thyroid partly or completely after taking stock of the severity of the thyroid problems as mentioned above. Following are some of the surgical procedures which are used to remove the thyroid gland partially or completely:

Partial Thyroid Lobectomy: For this procedure to be carried out, a benign lesion must be located ideally in the upper or lower portion of one lobe of the thyroid gland. As this condition is rare, it makes this procedure rare with a limited approach.

Thyroid Lobectomy: Thyroid lobectomy is said to be the smallest procedure to be performed on thyroid gland. This procedure is performed for solitary dominant nodules, which may be thyroid cancer or those which are indeterminate following fine needle biopsy. This surgery is also appropriate for follicular adenomas, solitary hot or cold nodules, or goiters which are isolated to one lobe, which is very rare.

Lobectomy with or without an Isthmectomy:
In lobectomy only that lobe is removed in which the thyroid nodules are present. In lobectomy with an isthmectomy, the narrow band of tissue called an isthmus that connects the two lobes is removed. Lobectomy with an isthmectomy removes more thyroid tissue than a simple lobectomy does and is used when a larger margin of tissue is needed to be removed in order to assure that the problem has been removed. This surgery is appropriate for Hurthle cell tumors, and some very small and non-aggressive thyroid cancers. After the surgery, the nodule is examined under a microscope to detect whether there are any cancer cells or not. If there are cancer cells in the nodules, then complete thyroidectomy is performed.

Subtotal Thyroidectomy: Just as the name implies, this operation removes all the affected area of the gland as well as the isthmus and majority of the opposite lobe. This operation is typical for small, non-aggressive thyroid cancers. It is also a common procedure for goiters that cause problems in neck or even those which extend into the chest called substernal goiters.

Total Thyroidectomy:
Total thyroidectomy as the name suggests is done to remove the thyroid gland completely. This operation is a must for all thyroid cancer patients, which are not small and non-aggressive in young patients. For all the different types of thyroid cancers, surgeons prefer complete removal of the thyroid tissue.

Risks Factors of Thyroid Surgery

  • Hoarseness and change of voice: The nerves that control the voice can be damaged during thyroid surgery. This can be minimized, if the surgeon has a lot of experience or if a patient is having a lobectomy rather than a total thyroidectomy.

  • Hypoparathyroidism: Hypoparathyroidism can occur if the parathyroid glands are mistakenly removed or damaged during a total thyroidectomy. This is not needed if a patient goes for a lobectomy.

Thyroidectomy is done to remove thyroid gland partially or completely. To minimize these risks, one can consult an expert surgeon. This surgery is performed at many specialized clinics in Singapore with world class treatment facilities for patients. Therefore, one should choose a specialized clinic to get thyroid surgery done.

CONCLUSION: Every surgery has two sides; one side shows its benefits and other side certain risks involved in this thyroid surgery. Thus one should keep in mind both the possibilities and should always choose a specialized clinic and an expert surgeon for the surgery.

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AUTHOR BIO: Dr. Darren Tay Keng Jin is a consultant at Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Singapore. He graduated from the National University of Singapore in 1999 and completed his orthopedic residency training in 2009. He has been practicing as a consultant orthopedic surgeon in Singapore General Hospital since 2011. His main interests lie in adult reconstruction surgeries which are computer-assisted ones, minimally invasive partial knee resurfacing and complex primary and revision surgery of the hip and knee. To find more information visit
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