​​​​​​​​​​​​​In this Guide

If you've been scheduled for a Thyroid Surgery, you probably have some questions. Our guide offers the answers you're looking for, and helps you prepare for your operation.

About the Operation​​​​​
Front view of the thyroid  
Side view of the thyroid

​Thyroid surgery that removes one or both of your thyroid lobes is called a thyroidectomy. A thyroidectomy may be done if:

  • Thyroid cancer is found or is suspected.
  • A noncancerous (benign) nodule is large enough to cause problems with breathing or swallowing.​​​
  • ​A fluid-filled (cystic) nodule returns after being drained once or twice before.
  • Hyperthyroidism (too much thyroid hormone) that cannot be treated with medications or radioactive iodine. This can include thyroid nodules making too much thyroid hormone (Plummer’s Disease) or Graves Disease.

Most types of thyroid surgery are done in a similar way. The major difference is how much of the thyroid is removed. Your surgeon will talk with you about which surgery is best for you.

Common types of thyroid surgery include:

  • Lobectomy/Partial Thyroidectomy/Subtotal Thyroidectomy (removing about half the thyroid).
  • Total thyroidectomy (removing the entire thyroid gland).
  • Lymph Node Dissection (Removing the lymph nodes around the thyroid gland or the sides of the neck).

The surgery is done under general anesthesia. This means you will be asleep during the surgery. The surgeon makes an incision (cut) in the lower neck. The length of the incision will depend on the size of the nodule and the size and sha​pe of your neck. Usually, the incision is between 4 to 6 centimetres long but can be longer if you are having lymph nodes removed.

How long will I need to stay in the hospital?

Most patients will be able to go home the same day as the operation.  Usually, you need to stay in the hospital for about 6 hours and then, your family or friends can drive you home.​​

What to expect before surgery

Endocrine Surgery | What to Expect Before Surgery.
Watch the video

Stop smoking before your surger​y

Learn how smoking and tobacco can affect your recovery after surgery, and how quitting can improve your health.​​​

Download a printable version of the full guide:
Thyroid Surgery​​​​