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I am going to undergo an operation to remove my thyroid

Answered by: Dr Ramzdhan

Last Updated: July 18, 2019 12:25 AM

farraheen 19 months

Doctor, I am going to undergo an operation to remove my thyroid. I read that I have risk of losing my voice after the operation. Now I am contemplating to proceed with the operation. Doctor saif I have to remove the gland because it might be cancerous.

Dr Ramzdhan 2 years
General Practitioner

Hi there! Thank you for your question. Allow me to explain about thyroid surgeries first. There are 4 types of thyroid surgeries

  1. Lobectomy – it involves removal of one lobe in the thyroid gland without the isthmus. The isthmus is the central but relatively very small part of the thyroid gland that connects the right and left thyroid lobes. This surgery is rarely done.

  2. Right/left hemi thyroidectomy – it involves either of the lobe with the isthmus. This is rarely done as well.

  3. Sub-total thyroidectomy- it involves removing about 8g of the thyroid gland. This is done in hopes that the left over thyroid tissue will be able to restore normal thyroid function. However, most often the left over tissue will not be able to restore normal function. Moreover, there will be higher chance of reoccurrence due to the leftover tissue. Due to these reasons, surgeon don’t prefer them.

  4. Total thyroidectomy – it involves the whole thyroid gland.

Thyroid surgeries are done for 4 reasons; cosmetic, cancer, failure of anti-thyroid drugs, and compression of nearby structures. As you mentioned, there are complications of thyroid surgeries just like any surgery. Complications that can happen during the surgery includes injury to surrounding nerves. There are 2 important nerves near the thyroid gland; superior laryngeal nerve and recurrent laryngeal nerve.

Once injured, the superior laryngeal nerve will produce a husky voice and the recurrent laryngeal nerve will produce hoarseness of the voice. Secondly, bleeding. This is because the thyroid is a highly vascular organ, mean it has a lot of blood vessels. Thirdly, thyroid storm. This is a life threatening condition of hyperthyroid which often includes a rapid heartbeat, fever, and even fainting.

This is rare and only occurs if the patient is inadequately prepared prior to the surgery. Complications that can happen after the surgery includes shortness of breath. This happens due to accumulation of hematoma (collection of blood outside of blood vessels) around the neck. Nevertheless, all these complications can be avoided or reduced through proper preparation before the surgery which will be done by your doctor.

Please click on this link (DoctorOnCall) to talk to us privately online and discuss further about your inquiries. Thank you.

Last Updated: Thu Jul 18 2019 00:25:45 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)
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