Though popular in the past, surgical treatment for hyperthyroidism is now not done often. The following are situations in which surgical treatment may be appropriate to consider:
- You have Graves disease and cannot tolerate anti-thyroid medicine or are not a good candidate for treatment with radioactive iodine.
- You have a very large thyroid gland that interferes with breathing or swallowing.
- You have a child with hyperthyroidism.
- You are pregnant and have hyperthyroidism. (Anti-thyroid medicine is considered the first-line treatment for pregnant women.)
Surgery is a permanent cure for hyperthyroidism in 90% of cases. But, surgery may result in hypothyroidism, a condition that requires ongoing medical treatment and medicine. Uncommon complications include:
- Vocal cord paralysis causing hoarseness
- Infected wound site
- Temporary low serum calcium
If you are considering surgery, be sure to choose an experienced surgeon.
Thyroidectomy is the surgical removal of all or part of the thyroid gland. This gland is in the neck. It produces hormones that regulate metabolism. The surgery may be a:
- Total or near-total thyroidectomy—all of the thyroid is removed
- Thyroid lobectomy or partial thyroidectomy—removal of only a part of the thyroid (the right or left lobe and/or center)
- Reviewer: Kim Carmichael, MD
- Review Date: 12/2013 -
- Update Date: 01/13/2014 -