Thyroid Surgery (Thyroidectomy)

Surgical Associates of Marshall County offers treatment for conditions of the thyroid with minimally invasive thyroid surgery in Albertville and Guntersville.

The thyroid is a gland in the front of the neck that controls the metabolism, or energy use, of the body. When a malfunctioning or cancerous thyroid does not respond to other forms of treatment, full or partial removal of the thyroid (thyroidectomy) may be necessary. At Surgical Associates of Marshall County, our experienced surgeons offer the latest options for thyroid surgery to help you find the safest and most effective form of treatment.

When is Thyroid Surgery Needed?

Thyroid surgery may be used to treat conditions of the gland like:

  • Thyroid cancer. Abnormal growths along the lobes of the thyroid are known as nodules. If biopsies show that nodules are cancerous, or suspected of being cancerous, thyroidectomy to remove the malignant tissue may be needed.
  • Noncancerous thyroid nodules and cysts. Even when nodules prove to be benign, they may need to be removed if they continue to grow or make it difficult to breathe or swallow. Cystic (fluid-filled) nodules may require thyroidectomy if they return after being drained.
  • Hyperthyroidism. An overactive thyroid can cause hormonal symptoms like anxiety, hair loss, irregular heart rate, diarrhea and weight loss. Though medication is the most frequent form of treatment for hyperthyroidism, thyroidectomy may be used in rare cases when medications cannot be tolerated or the thyroid gland swells to a problematic size.

What to Expect from Thyroid Surgery

The type of thyroid surgery used will depend on the nature of your condition.

  • Thyroid lobectomy. When nodules are found only on one lobe of the thyroid, that lobe may be removed, leaving the remainder of the thyroid intact. During thyroid lobectomy, an isthmectomy may also need to be performed. This procedure removes the isthmus, which is the band of connective tissue between the two lobes.
  • Total thyroidectomy. During this procedure, the entirety of the thyroid tissue is removed, including both lobes and the lymph nodes around the gland.
  • Subtotal thyroidectomy. Also known as near-total thyroidectomy, this procedure removes one complete lobe, the isthmus and part of the other lobe. When thyroid surgery is needed for hyperthyroidism related to Graves’ disease, this procedure is usually performed.

After Thyroid Surgery

If you suffer from thyroid cancer, the success of thyroid surgery in treatment is largely dependent on the severity and spread of the condition. Follow-up treatments like chemotherapy, radiation therapy or additional surgery may be needed to ensure that all cancer cells are eliminated.

Thyroid surgery is considered a very safe procedure. However, removal of the gland will deprive the body of the thyroid’s essential hormones. After total thyroidectomy, you will need to take synthetic thyroid hormone indefinitely, while lobectomy and subtotal thyroidectomy may also make this necessary.