Surgery for Thyroid Cancer

Most people with thyroid cancer only need surgery. There are several approaches to thyroid cancer surgery. The type we recommend for you will depend on such factors as the type of tumor you have and how far it may have spread.

  • Lobectomy: Your surgeon removes the tumor and a single lobe (half) of your thyroid.
  • Total or near-total thyroidectomy: Your surgeon removes all (or nearly all) of your thyroid gland.
  • Minimally invasive surgery: If you have a small, low-risk thyroid tumor, you may be a candidate for this procedure, in which the surgeon removes all or part of your thyroid through a tiny incision in your neck.
  • Minimally invasive video-assisted thyroidectomy: Your surgeon uses a narrow, lighted tube attached to a video camera (an endoscope) during surgery to help remove the tumor through a small cut.
  • Lymphadenectomy: If your tumor has spread or is likely to spread to your lymph nodes, your surgeon removes the lymph nodes in your neck. This procedure is also called lymph node dissection.

Thyroid Hormone Therapy after Surgery

Normal hormone levels are important for your health, including your metabolism and for preventing certain thyroid cancers from coming back. If surgeons remove all or part of your thyroid gland, you’ll have to take thyroid replacement medicine to get the levels back to where they should be.