Getting Thyroid Surgery

Many thyroid problems can be treated without surgery. The treatment chosen by your doctor will depend on your condition. The most common medical treatments and surgeries are described here.

Is it right for me?

Thyroid surgery may be the only treatment option if:

  • Your thyroid is greatly enlarged and is causing problems for your breathing or swallowing
  • Your doctor thinks you may have thyroid cancer
  • You have an over-active thyroid that drugs/radioiodine treatment cannot control

What to expect

Traditional surgery

In traditional, open thyroid surgery, a 2–8 cm incision (cut) is made in the skin of the lower part of the neck. The surgery is done under a general anaesthetic. You will need to stay in the hospital for one or two days.

More: Getting traditional thyroid surgery

Minimally-invasive surgery

A minimally-invasive approach leaves only a tiny scar that may be less visible. The surgery may be done under local or general anaesthetic. Depending on the extent of the surgery, you may or may not require an overnight stay in the hospital.

More: Getting minimally-invasive thyroid surgery

Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.

Last updated: 22 Sep 2010

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