Thyroid Surgery (Thyroidectomy)

UW Health endocrine surgeons in Madison, Wisconsin, specialize in treating conditions of the thyroid.


About the Thyroid Gland


The thyroid gland is a butterfly shaped-gland located in the center of the neck. It sits in front of the trachea (windpipe). The thyroid gland consists of a left and a right lobe, and makes hormones which help regulate body metabolism.


About Thyroid Surgery (Thyroidectomy)


Thyroidectomy, or removal of a portion of the thyroid gland by surgery, is often performed for reasons such as thyroid nodules, thyroid cysts, goiter, Graves’ disease, hyperthyroidism and thyroid cancer. In most cases, surgery consists of removal of one side of the thyroid (thyroid lobectomy) or all of the thyroid (total thyroidectomy).


Thyroid Surgery in Thyroid Cancer


Patients with thyroid cancer who are treated by surgeons that perform a large number of operations have significantly shorter hospital stays, lower complication rates and increased quality of life and survival. Fortunately, complications after surgery are very rare but these can include bleeding, low blood calcium levels and hoarseness or other voice changes. Most patients are able to go home the same day after thyroid surgery.


The landscape of treatment for thyroid cancer is rapidly changing. Your surgeon can discuss with you the risks and benefits of the two main surgical treatment options for thyroid carcinoma: thyroid lobectomy or total thyroidectomy. Based on the size and features of your thyroid cancer, either option may be a safe choice for you and this is a decision you can make in partnership with your surgeon.