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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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