Surgical Procedures for Thyroid Cancer
by Rosalyn Carson-DeWitt, MD
Surgery is the main treatment for most thyroid cancers. The goal of surgery is to remove the cancer and keep as much thyroid tissue and function as possible.
A thyroidectomy is the removal of part or all of the thyroid. The amount of tissue removed depends on the size, location, and type of tumor.
Thyroidectomies can be done as:
Types of thyroid surgery include:
Medicine may be needed to replace the work of the thyroid. This may include daily thyroid hormone pills and vitamin D and calcium supplements.
Central Neck Dissection
Central neck dissection will include work on other tissue in the neck. It may be needed if cancer has spread beyond the thyroid. The lymph nodes are often involved at this point. The affected lymph nodes and other affected tissue are removed. Lymph tissue will be examined under a microscope for cancer. This will show how many lymph nodes need to be removed.
Cancer growth and swelling can put pressure on the airway. This can make it hard to breathe. A tracheotomy may be needed. A hole is created through the neck below the thyroid. A tube is inserted through the hole to allow air to move in and out of the lungs. It may be needed for a short time or left in permanently.
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Last reviewed September 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Mohei Abouzied, MD, FACP
Last Updated: 12/29/2020
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