Thyroidectomy

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Thyroid and Parathyroid

A thyroidectomy is a surgical procedure to remove all or part of the thyroid gland. It is used to treat diseases of the thyroid gland including:

  • Thyroid cancer
  • Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid gland)
  • Large goiters or thyroid nodules causing symptomatic obstruction such as swallowing or breathing difficulties.
  • Multi-nodular Goiter

Thyroid Surgery at UCSF

UCSF is a major referral center for endocrine surgery in the region. Surgeons at UCSF perform a high volume of thyroid surgeries, including some of the most complex and technically challenging cases, with generally excellent results.

The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped organ and is composed of two cone-like lobes or wings connected via the isthmus. The gland is regulates metabolism by secreting hormones. When diseases affect the thyroid, its size or activity may become abnormal. 

There are several different types of  thyroidectomies based how much of the gland is removed:

Types of Thyroidectomies
Total thyroidectomy Removal of the entire thyroid gland 
Thyroid lobectomy Removal of an entire lobe
Partial thyroid lobectomy Removal of part of a lobe
Thyroid lobectomy with isthmusectomy Removal of the isthmus in addition to a lobe
Subtotal thyroidectomy Removal of a lobe, the isthmus, and part of the other lobe


After surgery, patients may also need to take the drug levothyroxine, an oral synthetic thyroid hormone, after surgery dependent on the how much of the gland is removed.

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