Surgical Procedures for Thyroid Cancer
- Lobectomy and isthmusectomy—One of the two lobes and the central isthmus are removed.
- Bilateral subtotal thyroidectomy—Both lobes and the isthmus are removed, with only a small bit of thyroid tissue from the back of the gland left behind. This thyroid tissue is left behind in order to avoid injury to nearby parathyroid glands and nerves.
- Near total thyroidectomy—All of one lobe and the isthmus are removed; most of the other lobe is removed, with only a small bit of thyroid tissue left behind.
- Total thyroidectomy—Both thyroid lobes and the isthmus are totally removed.
- Bleeding into the surrounding tissues around the trachea causing problem with breathing
- Injury to the parathyroid glands or their blood vessels, resulting in hypoparathyroidism (which is preventable with transplanting the parathyroid glands at the time of the surgical procedure)
- Injury to nerves in the neck, which can cause a persistently hoarse voice or, in rare cases, airway obstruction that requires breathing assistance ( tracheotomy )
- Have a sore throat for a day or two
- Feel nauseated for the first 12 hours or so after your operation
- Require pain medication and/or antinausea medication
- Take thyroid medication for the rest of your life
- Take vitamin D and calcium supplements (if your parathyroid glands have been injured during surgery)
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What you need to know about cancer of the thyroid. National Cancer Institute website. Available at http://cancer.gov/ . Accessed December 10, 2002.
- Reviewer: Mohei Abouzied, MD
- Review Date: 09/2013
- Update Date: 09/30/2013