Understanding The Risks Involved With Thyroid Surgery

Risks Involved With Thyroid Surgery

A thyroidectomy is a surgical procedure that removes all or part of the butterfly-shaped thyroid gland in the neck. It may be used to treat hyperthyroidism (abnormally high levels of thyroid hormone) and benign tumors in the thyroid.

During surgery, the surgeon will take great care to preserve the nerves that go to your voice box and the four small parathyroid glands that regulate calcium in the blood. Damage to these nerves can lead to hoarseness, swallowing difficulties and breathing problems.

Pre-Operative Tests

Your doctor will do tests and scans to ensure you’re fit for surgery and the operation is safe. These include blood tests, a chest X-ray and an electrocardiogram (ECG).

You might also have a scan to check whether you have thyroid cancer or the thyroid gland is proliferating. These may be done before admission to the hospital or during your surgery.

Thyroid surgery Miami FL is a safe and effective procedure that can cure many cases of thyroid disease. However, some risks include hypocalcemia and recurrent laryngeal nerve (RLN) injury.

Before surgery, your doctor will discuss what to expect and answer any questions. This is called an informed consent process and will help you to make the best decision about your surgery.

Post-Operative Tests

During surgery, the surgeon will remove all or part of your thyroid gland (thyroidectomy), depending on the reason for the operation. Your surgeon will also examine your neck for signs of cancer.

Post-operative tests will be necessary to help your doctor understand the risks involved with thyroid surgery and how well your surgery has worked. These include blood tests, an x-ray of your head and neck and other tests to check for cancer.

The most common post-operative test is a test that uses radioactive iodine (I-131). If you have this type of test, you must stop taking your thyroid medication for up to 6 weeks before the test.

Another critical test is FDG PET scanning, which uses a special scanner to look for cancer cells that haven’t absorbed enough radioactive iodine during surgery. It is often used to see if cancer has spread or is still growing.


When you have a thyroid operation, you’ll stay in the hospital overnight. Your healthcare team will monitor your condition and address any problems you may have after the surgery.

You’ll also be started on levothyroxine (Synthroid or Levoxyl) and given instructions to drink plenty of fluids and eat soft foods. This can help prevent blockages in the throat, which are common after surgery.

The surgeon makes a cut (incision) low in your neck during the surgery. This is typically made through a skin crease, which minimizes the amount of scar tissue that forms over time.

The surgeon then removes the thyroid gland, or part of it, depending on the reason for the surgery. The surgeon also tries to tie off arteries and veins that supply the thyroid.

The surgeon then closes the wound with stitches, clips, strips of sticky tape or glue. It will take 8 to 12 weeks for the damage to heal completely.


Follow-up tests help your doctor understand how well your thyroid surgery worked and if there are any problems. These include physical examinations and blood tests to check your thyroid hormone level and thyroglobulin.

You’ll have blood tests every 6 to 8 weeks after your operation if your whole thyroid was removed or every four months if you had half of it removed. These tests measure the amount of thyroid hormone in your blood and let your doctor adjust your medication dose accordingly.

You may also have an ultrasound of your neck. This test is increasingly used because it doesn’t require pain or radiation exposure and can detect thyroid disease early if it has spread to lymph glands in your neck.

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