Thyroidectomy (for Goitre)
If your goitre is unsightly or interfering with your breathing or swallowing and it has not responded to other forms of treatment, you may need surgery to remove part or all of your thyroid gland. This procedure is known as a thyroidectomy.
What is a thyroidectomy
Thyroidectomy is the partial or complete removal of your thyroid gland. The main types of thyroidectomy surgery are:
- total thyroidectomy – removes all of your thyroid gland
- hemithyroidectomy – removes half of your thyroid gland
The type of thyroidectomy will depend on the underlying condition that is causing your goitre. Your doctor will advise you on the most suitable treatment for you.
A thyroidectomy aims to reduce the size of your enlarged thyroid gland (goitre) to relieve symptoms such as difficulty breathing or swallowing. It can also be performed to remove nodules and cancer and to improve the appearance of your neck.
Thyroidectomy surgery is performed under a general anaesthetic and usually takes between 90 minutes to two hours. Your surgeon makes a cut on your neck in a skin crease line and then removes part or all of your thyroid gland. They will then close the wound.
How do you get a thyroid goiter?
A thyroid goiter is an enlarged thyroid gland that causes your neck to swell. It is one of the most common thyroid disorders. You can get a thyroid goiter due to a number of reasons:
- Iodine deficiency - one of the most common causes of goiters is not enough iodine in your diet.
- Hyperthyroidism – an overactive thyroid gland. Grave’s Disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism. It is an autoimmune problem that causes your body’s antibodies to attack your thyroid cells and this results in the growth of your thyroid gland.
- Hypothyroidism - an underactive thyroid gland. Your thyroid gland does not make enough hormones to meet your body's needs and so it grows larger to try to make up for this shortfall.
- Hormone changes - during puberty, pregnancy or the menopause
- Medications – for example, lithium, a medicine used to treat some mental health conditions.
- Thyroiditis - an inflamed thyroid gland.
- Nodules – lumps in your thyroid, usually harmless.
- Thyroid cancer – in the UK this is a rare cancer.
- Radiation treatment – in your neck or chest.
Can thyroid gland grow back after thyroidectomy?
If you have a total thyroidectomy your thyroid gland will not grow back. If you have a partial thyroidectomy then the remaining thyroid may grow.
What is the recovery process after a thyroidectomy procedure
You can expect to go home one to two days after your surgery.
Most people can resume normal activities, including returning to work, within one to two weeks. We encourage regular exercise as this will help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. However, before you start to exercise, check with your GP or healthcare team.
It is likely you will have a sore throat for a few days. Over-the-counter pain relievers can usually reduce the pain. If the pain is severe, a doctor might prescribe a stronger pain relief.
You may experience neck pain and a hoarse or weak voice for a few days after your thyroidectomy. The breathing tube used during surgery may cause irritation or your nerve might be irritated from the surgery. Pain relief will help.
We will arrange a follow-up appointment with you to review the results.
Your scar will fade over time. Within six months to a year, it is usually barely noticeable.
If you have a total thyroidectomy you will need to take replacement hormone tablets every day for the rest of your life to prevent symptoms of an underactive thyroid. You will also need a thyroid function blood test approximately once a year.
What is the cost of a thyroidectomy procedure
The cost of a thyroidectomy procedure will depend on the exact type of thyroidectomy surgery you require and your Ramsay hospital of choice.
You will receive a formal quotation price following your consultation with one of our expert surgeons. This formal quote for your thyroidectomy procedure will be valid for 60 days and includes unlimited aftercare.
Ramsay is recognised by all major medical insurers. Thyroidectomy procedures are covered by most medical insurance policies if performed for medical reasons. We advise you to obtain written authorisation from your insurance provider before starting your treatment.
We have a number of finance options if you are paying for your thyroidectomy surgery yourself. These include:
- Interest-free finance – 0% interest, no deposit and affordable monthly instalments.
- All-inclusive Total Care - one-off pre-agreed payment for access to all the treatment you need for complete reassurance.
- Pay as you go – flexible funding to pay for treatment as and when costs arise. Often used if your treatment costs are difficult to assess.
Thyroidectomy at Ramsay Health Care
At Ramsay Health Care UK, we will rapidly assess the symptoms and cause of your goitre. We will recommend the best treatment for your needs. Our skilled surgeons regularly perform thyroidectomy surgery including hemithyroidectomy and total thyroidectomy.
We offer fast access to consultations and surgery to ensure a smooth and efficient treatment journey for your goitre. We understand some patients wish to have goitre removed to also improve their appearance.
All of our Ramsay hospitals follow strict protocols to keep patient and staff safe from infections, including Covid 19 whilst in hospital.