An Endocrine Surgeon is the specialist who performs a thyroidectomy. A total thyroidectomy is recommended for thyroid cancer, restriction caused by an enlarged thyroid gland pressing on the windpipe, oesophagus or nerves. Surgery is also performed when a patient has a suspicious nodule(s), which could be malignant or an uncontrollable overactive thyroid gland. This procedure is done as an inpatient in hospital and you are usually in hospital for two days. You will have a small scar in the lower part of the centre of your neck, just above the sternum or breastbone.
There are two types of thyroidectomy:
The choice of surgery for you, will be made with your Endocrine Surgeon. However, a Total Thyroidectomy is now the recommended choice.
After surgery you will usually be prescribed thyroid replacement hormone. Levothyroxine is taken each day. In some cases where only a single lobe is removed, you may not need to take Levothyroxine. However, the ATF recommend regular thyroid function pathology monitoring by your General Practitioner or Endocrinologist of your thyroid hormone levels is very important and should not be overlooked.
Following surgery, the back of your neck will probably be more uncomfortable than the front. This is due to the position your head is placed during surgery. The ATF recommend taking a boomerang shaped pillow with you to hospital. The support from this type of pillow will help to relieve neck discomfort. Some members report continuing to use this shaped pillow for several weeks to support their neck whilst sleeping and during recovery.