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Total Thyroidectomy

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jul 7, 2024.

What do I need to know about a total thyroidectomy?

A total thyroidectomy is surgery to remove all of your thyroid gland. Your thyroid gland makes hormones that control your metabolism, body temperature, and heart rate. Your thyroid gland is shaped like a butterfly. It is found in the front lower part of your neck. You may need a thyroidectomy if you have thyroid cancer or a growth on your thyroid. A growth that is not cancer can still become large enough to cause breathing problems. You may also need this surgery if you have hyperthyroidism. This means your thyroid creates too much thyroid hormone.

Thyroid and Parathyroid Glands

How do I prepare for a total thyroidectomy?

What will happen during a total thyroidectomy?

What will happen after a total thyroidectomy?

Tell your healthcare providers if you have difficulty breathing or swallowing. Tell them if your bandage feels like it is getting tighter. You will have blood tests to check your calcium and thyroid hormone blood levels.

What are the risks of a total thyroidectomy?

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 blood levels to drop too low. This may be a short-term problem after surgery, or it may be a long-term problem. You may get a blood clot in your arm or leg. The clot may travel to your heart or brain and cause life-threatening problems, such as a heart attack or stroke.

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 healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. 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.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.