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Thyroid facts

Thyroid SurgerY 


An Endocrine Surgeon (who specialises in thyroid surgery) is the specialist who is recommended to perform a thyroidectomy. A total thyroidectomy is recommended as the initial treatment for patients who have been diagnosed with 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/hyperthyroid 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 different types of thyroidectomy:

  • Total Thyroidectomy – The total removal of the thyroid gland
  • Hemi Thyroidectomy – The partial (one lobe) removal of the thyroid gland

The choice of surgery will be made by you and your Endocrine Surgeon. However, a Total Thyroidectomy is now the recommended choice.

After surgery you will usually be prescribed Thyroid Replacement Hormone – Levothyroxine, which must be taken each day for the rest of your life. The dose will be monitored with regular thyroid function blood tests.

Click here to read more information about Levothyroxine and brands/formulas available.

Please also read Patients Medication Choice of Brand

In some cases where only a single lobe is removed, you may not need to initially take Levothyroxine. However, the ATF recommend regular Thyroid Function Pathology monitoring by your General Practitioner or Endocrinologist, as your thyroid function may deteriorate, and a prescription of Levothyroxine may be needed to regulate your thyroid hormone requirement.

Being aware is important, your thyroid health is essential to your wellbeing and general health, so speak to your doctor, if you have any symptoms or concerns.

If you have any questions or would like information, please email us


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 at home.



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The mission of The Australian Thyroid Foundation Ltd (ATF) is to offer support, information and education to members and their families through the many services provided by The ATF and raise awareness about health consequences of iodine deficiency and the benefits of good thyroid health.

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