You will always know what operation you will be having before being admitted to hospital. All our patient care is based on informed consent and you will not be asked to consent to further or alternative measures.
Thyroidectomy is the term for removal of all or part of the thyroid gland.
Total thyroidectomy describes removal of the whole gland; this may be required because:
- The whole gland is enlarged (a goitre)
- The whole gland is overactive
Partial thyroidectomy, removal of part of the gland, is usually a thyroid lobectomy, to remove a nodule (lump) on one side of the gland, or to ascertain the nature of a lump.
Patients who have the entire thyroid gland removed have to take thyroxine tablets for the rest of their lives. The correct dose varies for different people and can be monitored by a simple blood test. This does not affect people’s ability to lead a normal, active life.
Most patients, who have only part of the gland removed, do not need any medication.
Occasionally the parathyroid gland may be removed, or damaged, during thyroid surgery. When the whole thyroid gland is removed, the parathyroid glands tend to “shut down” for a few weeks. If this occurs patients are normally given calcium tablets for about a month, to allow the parathyroid glands to recover. Very rarely the parathyroid glands do not recover and then calcium tablets, as well as thyroxine, may be prescribed for the rest of the patient’s life.