Thyroid gland removal is surgery to remove all or part of the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland located inside the front of the lower neck.

The thyroid gland is part of the hormone (endocrine) system. It helps your body regulate your metabolism.

Depending on the reason you are having your thyroid gland removed, the type of thyroidectomy you have will be either a:

• Total thyroidectomy, which removes the entire gland

• Subtotal or partial thyroidectomy, which removes part of the thyroid gland

You will have general anesthesia (asleep and pain-free) for this surgery. In rare cases, the surgery is done with local anesthesia and medicine to relax you. You will be awake, but pain-free.

During the surgery:

• The surgeon makes a horizontal cut in the front of your lower neck just above the collar bones.

• All or part of the gland is removed through the cut.

• The surgeon is careful not to damage the blood vessels and nerves in your neck.

• A small tube (catheter) may be placed into the area to help drain blood and other fluids that build up.

The drain will be removed in 1 or 2 days.

• The cuts are closed with sutures (stitches).

Surgery to remove your whole thyroid may take up to 4 hours. It may take less time if only part of the thyroid is removed.

Newer techniques that require a smaller incision near the thyroid or at other locations and which involve the use of endoscopy have been developed.