A thyroidectomy is an operation to remove all or part of your thyroid gland to treat thyroid gland diseases.
What is a thyroidectomy?
A thyroidectomy is a surgery performed for partial or total thyroid removal.
Your thyroid is a butterfly-shaped organ in your neck, just below your Adam’s apple. It produces hormones that regulate your body’s metabolism, including your heart rate, weight, growth, and temperature.
Thyroid disease may affect your thyroid’s size or activity. Thyroidectomy is carried out to treat these diseases. The amount of your thyroid gland removed is based on your thyroid disease. Partial thyroidectomy removes only a portion of your thyroid and it may be able to function normally afterwards. Total thyroidectomy removes your entire thyroid and you will need daily thyroid hormone treatment after surgery.
Thyroid diseases a thyroidectomy is used to treat include:
- Thyroid cancer – the most frequent cause for a thyroidectomy. It is likely that most or all of your thyroid will be removed.
- Hyperthyroidism – an overactive thyroid gland that produces too much thyroxine hormone and can cause a wide range of symptoms. Often total thyroidectomy is recommended to prevent the symptoms of hyperthyroidism returning.
- Large goiters or goitres – a non-cancerous enlargement of the whole of your thyroid gland that causes difficulty swallowing or breathing, or hyperthyroidism. Partial or total thyroidectomy may be recommended.
- Thyroid nodules – unsightly lumps that can be cancerous or non-cancerous and also cause difficulty swallowing or breathing. Partial or total thyroidectomy may be recommended, especially if the nodules are potentially cancerous.
How long does thyroidectomy take?
Thyroidectomy is usually performed under general anaesthetic and takes between one to two hours depending on the extent of your surgery.
There are a number of approaches to a thyroidectomy including open surgery and the minimally invasive technique called endoscopic thyroidectomy. Typically, your surgeon makes an incision or incisions in a skin crease in your neck and then removes all or part of your thyroid. If you have thyroid cancer, your surgeon may also remove lymph nodes around your thyroid.
Is a thyroidectomy major surgery?
Yes, a thyroidectomy is a major surgery as it involves removing part or all of your thyroid gland. You should rest for two to three days afterwards. After a total thyroidectomy, you will need to take medication once-a-day for the rest of your life to replace your thyroid's natural function.
What is the recovery process after a thyroidectomy procedure?
You can expect to stay up to two days in hospital following your thyroidectomy. This will depend on the type of surgery you have had.You should follow your surgeon’s post-operative advice.
If you have a total thyroidectomy, you need to take thyroid hormone daily for the rest of your life.
When you go home, you can resume your regular activity as tolerated. We encourage walking outside, going up and down stairs, and performing light activities.
You should wait ten to 14 days before doing any strenuous activity or heavy lifting.
Most patients can return to work within the first or second week of surgery.
You can drive as soon as you feel able and when you can turn your head comfortably, providing you are not taking pain medication.
You may experience neck pain and a hoarse or weak voice. This is often temporary and is an effect of nerve or windpipe irritation during surgery.
We will make a follow-up appointment for you with your surgeon to discuss your results.
Your scar will fade over time. Your doctor may recommend sunscreen to help minimize its visibility.
What is the cost of a thyroidectomy procedure?
The cost of your thyroidectomy will depend on whether you have a partial or total thyroidectomy, how it is performed, and the Ramsay hospital of your choice.
This guide package price is an estimate of the costs of your thyroidectomy surgery. You will receive a formal quotation price following your consultation with one of our expert surgeons. This formal quote for your thyroidectomy procedure will be valid for 60 days and includes unlimited aftercare.
We have a number of finance options if you are paying for your thyroidectomy yourself. These include:
- Interest-free finance - requires no deposit, offers the ability to pay in monthly instalments, and benefits from 0% interest
- All-inclusive Total Care - a single one-off payment at a pre-agreed price that delivers direct access to all the treatment you need for complete reassurance
- Pay as you go – a flexible funding option if your treatment costs are difficult to assess, that allows you to meet your treatment costs as and when they arise.
Thyroidectomy surgery is covered by most medical insurance policies. We advise you to check with your insurance provider and obtain their written authorisation before starting your treatment.
Thyroidectomy surgery at Ramsay Health Care
Our general surgeons and ENT consultants are highly skilled in thyroidectomy surgery. They will discuss with you whether to partially or fully remove your thyroid gland and the best technique to do so.
At Ramsay Health Care UK, we offer convenient appointments without waiting and offer virtual consultations and support whenever appropriate. You will receive the highest standard of care with attention to patient safety and infection prevention at all times.
Our expert teams are available to answer all of your queries before, during and after your stay to support your thyroidectomy surgery. You can also rest assured that your treatment cost will not escalate as it includes unlimited aftercare.