Understanding Thyroid Surgery

Understanding Thyroid Surgery


Paragon Surgical Specialists perform thyroid surgery to remove part or all of the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is a small, butterfly-shaped organ that sits below the voice box in the front of the neck. It’s responsible for providing hormones that regulate your metabolism and energy such as when you need to regulate your body temperature.

This surgery is also known as partial or total thyroidectomy. The surgery is performed when a nodule or goiter has been found that’s impacting the patient’s health or thyroid cancer has been diagnosed.

Most nodules in the thyroid gland are found incidentally during a routine or radiological exam. When no symptoms are present, these are called non-functioning and are further examined for cancer. We perform an ultrasound-guided fine needle biopsy to determine the diagnosis.

Brian J. Schmidt, MD discusses Paragon Surgical Specialists standard for diagnosing and treating nodules found on the thyroid.

If the nodule is cancerous, then thyroid surgery is recommended; however, if the results are inconclusive, it all depends on the size, positioning and the situation. Benign nodules require regular monitoring, along with physical exams.

If a goiter is found and there are other symptoms present such as excessive sweating, dry skin, racing heartbeat, or unexplained weight loss or weight gain, then the thyroid may be under or over producing T3 and T4 hormones. Treatment for the goiter will depend on the size, symptoms and underlying causes such as Graves’ disease, Hashimoto’s disease, and least common in the U.S., iodine deficiency.

There are four types of thyroidectomies and the approach will depend on the placement of the nodule or goiter. A thyroidectomy is the removal of all the thyroid tissue. A thyroid lobectomy is the removal of one lobe of the thyroid. An isthmusectomy is the removal of the bridge between the two lobes of the thyroid. The final approach is called an open thyroid biopsy, which is used to excise a nodule.