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Partial Thyroidectomy


A partial thyroidectomy is the removal of part of your thyroid. Your thyroid is a gland in the front lower part of your neck. The thyroid makes hormones that regulate your metabolism, body temperature, and heart rate. Smaller glands called parathyroids regulate the level of calcium in your blood. You have 4 parathyroids, located on the sides of your thyroid gland. Your parathyroids will not be removed during this surgery.


The week before your surgery:

  • Write down the correct date, time, and location of your surgery.
  • Arrange a ride home. Ask a family member or friend to drive you home after your surgery or procedure. Do not drive yourself home.
  • Ask your caregiver if you need to stop using aspirin or any other prescribed or over-the-counter medicine before your procedure or surgery.
  • Bring your medicine bottles or a list of your medicines when you see your caregiver. Tell your caregiver if you are allergic to any medicine. Tell your caregiver if you use any herbs, food supplements, or over-the-counter medicine.
  • You may need to take medicine to decrease the amount of hormone your thyroid makes. You may also need medicines to control your heart rate and to help prevent bleeding.
  • You may need blood tests to check for infection or other health conditions. You may also need an ultrasound, a CT scan, or a laryngoscopy. These tests help healthcare providers find the exact part of your thyroid to remove. Ask your healthcare provider for more information about these and other tests you may need. Write down the date, time, and location of each test.

The night before your surgery:

Ask caregivers about directions for eating and drinking.

The day of your surgery:

  • Ask your caregiver before you take any medicine on the day of your surgery. Bring a list of all the medicines you take, or your pill bottles, with you to the hospital. Caregivers will check that your medicines will not interact poorly with the medicine you need for surgery.
  • You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives caregivers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.
  • Caregivers may insert an intravenous tube (IV) into your vein. A vein in the arm is usually chosen. Through the IV tube, you may be given liquids and medicine.
  • An anesthesiologist will talk to you before your surgery. You may need medicine to keep you asleep or numb an area of your body during surgery. Tell caregivers if you or anyone in your family has had a problem with anesthesia in the past.
  • You may need a blood test to check your thyroid hormone level.
  • You may need an EKG to check the electrical activity of your heart.


What will happen:

  • Your surgeon will make an incision in your lower neck or in another location to prevent a noticeable scar. He may remove part of your thyroid gland through a scope. He may instead need to open the area and remove the thyroid tissue through an incision.
  • Tools are used to monitor the location and function of the laryngeal nerves. These nerves are attached to your voice box and help you speak. Healthcare providers will monitor your laryngeal nerves to help prevent damage that may cause problems with speaking. If you are awake during surgery, you may be asked to speak to your healthcare providers.
  • One or more drains (thin rubber tubes) may be placed into your incision to remove extra fluid from the surgery area. Your incision will be closed with stitches and covered with a bandage.

After your surgery:

You will be taken to a room to rest until you are fully awake. Healthcare providers will monitor you closely for any problems. You may need blood tests to check your calcium, parathyroid hormone, and thyroid hormone levels. Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay. When your healthcare provider sees that you are okay, you may be taken to your hospital room or allowed to go home.


  • You cannot make it to your surgery.
  • You have a fever.
  • You get a cold or the flu.
  • You have questions or concerns about your surgery.

Seek Care Immediately if

  • Symptoms from your thyroid problem get worse.


  • You may bleed more than expected and need a blood transfusion. Your voice may be hoarse or weak after surgery, and this may become a long-term problem. Your neck may be bruised and swollen, and it may be hard for you to breathe or swallow. Your parathyroid glands may not work as well as they should after surgery. This can cause your calcium levels to drop too low. Low calcium levels can cause many problems, including an irregular heartbeat, muscle spasms, and seizures. This may be a short-term problem after surgery, or it may be a long-term problem. You may get a wound infection, which can become life-threatening.
  • If you do not have surgery, your thyroid gland may keep growing, making it hard for you to breathe or swallow. Hyperthyroidism (too much thyroid hormone) may make your heart beat too fast, or it may not beat regularly. This can lead to heart failure, low blood calcium levels, and increased risk of bone fractures. Certain thyroid problems may become life-threatening if they are not treated.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.