An Overview of Thyroidectomy, the Surgical Procedure to Reduce Thyroid Gland Swelling

If you have ever had swelling in the thyroid gland, you may have heard of a surgical procedure called ‘thyroidectomy’. This procedure is used to reduce swelling and other symptoms associated with an enlarged thyroid gland. In this blog post, we will explain what a thyroidectomy is, why it is sometimes necessary, and its potential risks.

What is Thyroidectomy?

A thyroidectomy is a surgical procedure whereby the entire or part of the thyroid gland is removed from the body. It is typically done in cases where there is significant swelling in the glands due to an overactive or underactive condition. The most common reasons for performing a thyroidectomy are goiter (enlarged thyroid), nodules (lumps on the gland), cancerous growths, or severe hyperthyroidism (overactivity).

The Surgery Process

Thyroidectomies can be performed under general anesthesia or local anesthesia depending on the severity of your condition. Your doctor will make an incision in your neck and remove either part or all of your thyroid gland. Afterwards, they will close up the area with sutures and place gauze over it. It usually takes around 3 hours for an entire procedure but can take longer if complications arise.

For patients who need only partial removal of their glands, they may be able to leave immediately after surgery while those who require total removal may need to stay overnight in hospital for observation. Additionally, some patients may need to take medication to regulate their hormone levels after surgery as well as supplementing their diet with iodine-rich foods such as seaweed and iodized salt for several months afterwards.

Risks Associated With Thyroidectomies

Though rarely serious, there are some risks associated with this type of surgery that should be discussed before undergoing one. These include nerve damage resulting in hoarseness; excessive bleeding; scarring; voice changes; infection; difficulty swallowing; and low calcium levels which could result in numbness or tingling in the hands and feet. Patients should also note that even after successful surgery, there still might be some residual pain or discomfort around the incision site which can take up to several weeks to fully heal up.


If you are considering having a thyroidectomy done because of an enlarged thyroids or other related conditions, it’s important that you understand all aspects of this surgical process before making any decisions. Be sure to discuss any concerns you have with your doctor so they can provide you with more information about potential risks associated with this procedure as well as advise you on how best to manage them should they occur during or after surgery. By understanding what goes into a successful thyroidectomy operation and being aware of any potential risks beforehand, you’ll be better equipped to make informed decisions when it comes time for your own surgery!

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