Thyroid surgery - indications, preparation and technology, rehabilitation and complications

Thyroid surgery is an advanced procedure. It must be carried out in specialized clinics for doctors of appropriate qualifications. Surgery is a radical way to treat gland pathologies, it helps to eliminate multiple pathologies. Modern surgery is equipped with the latest technologies that allow performing interventions on the gland using minimally invasive techniques, which ensures fast, high-quality destruction of the affected area.

What is thyroid surgery

Some thyroid diseases with the ineffectiveness of conservative methods of therapy require complex surgical treatment. The complexity of surgical interventions is determined by the specific location of this organ. The thyroid gland is adjacent to the esophagus, vocal cords, recurrent laryngeal nerves. In addition, the gland is surrounded by many large vessels and the careless movement of the surgeon can lead to damage and dangerous bleeding.

Indications for removal of the thyroid gland

When prescribing surgical treatment, it is important to correctly assess the degree of danger of the course of the disease. Indications for thyroid surgery are absolute and relative. The following cases are considered the absolute indications for surgical treatment:

  1. Nodes One of the most common organ pathologies. It occurs in approximately 45-50% of people. As a rule, such formations are benign. The operation is prescribed for the ineffectiveness of conservative therapy, a large amount of benign neoplasms (with impaired swallowing, breathing, squeezing of the esophagus cavity) or with the formation of a toxic node (diffuse toxic goiter), when the overgrown tissue begins to secrete a large amount of hormones.
  2. Cancer. The detection of malignant neoplasms is a direct indication for urgent total thyroidectomy. At the same time, the gland itself, nearby fiber and lymph nodes are removed.
  3. Autoimmune thyroiditis. It is a chronic inflammation of the tissues of the thyroid gland, which leads to a violation of the secretion of follicular secretion and thyroid hormones.

Relative indications for surgery on the thyroid include the presence of several benign neoplasms that do not exceed 0.7-1 cm in diameter, a thyroid cyst, deposition of calcium salts in the organ parenchyma or in the surrounding tissue, sternal goiter, which, according to research, is not increases in size, does not compress the mediastinal organs.


Before surgical treatment, a comprehensive examination of the patient is necessary, according to the results of which the degree of development of the pathologies of the gland is assessed. In addition, instrumental and laboratory studies help determine the volume of necessary interventions, surgical access, and the size of the incision. Surveys include:

  • Ultrasound of the gland structure;
  • computed tomography of the neck;
  • magnetic resonance imaging of the mediastinum;
  • general blood tests, urine tests,
  • fine needle aspiration biopsy and histological examination of tissues, cells;
  • determination of bleeding rate;
  • blood test for HIV;
  • study of thyroid hormone levels.

How is the operation to remove the thyroid gland

The choice of the type of operation depends on the type of disease, the stage of development of the pathology, the degree of damage to the gland, malignancy of the neoplasm, the growth rate of diffuse goiter, the presence of concomitant complicating factors, as well as the age and sex of the patient. According to statistics, the most optimal are the methods of resection and partial removal of the affected tissue. There are several types of operations on the thyroid gland:

  • hemithyroidectomy (removal of one of the lobes of the gland);
  • thyroidectomy (removal of the entire gland);
  • resection (partial removal of affected tissue).


The operation to remove the thyroid gland or its part is called thyroidectomy. Radical surgical treatment is rarely performed, as a rule, only when malignant neoplasms are detected in the tissues of the organ and is accompanied by the removal of some muscles of the neck, fiber, and lymphatic apparatus. Partial thyroidectomy is usually performed with diffuse toxic goiter.

Surgery to remove the thyroid gland is performed under general anesthesia. On the front surface of the neck, the surgeon performs a longitudinal skin incision of 8-10 cm in size. Blood vessels are coagulated, pinched with a soft clip or ligated. The part of the gland to be removed is carefully cut off from healthy tissues and removed from the surgical wound. The incision is sutured in layers, drainages are installed for 12-48 hours and a sterile dressing is applied. The duration of the operation is 2-3 hours.

In some cases, the surgeon uses the endoscopic method to perform a thyroidectomy: with the help of small incisions, an optical camera and special miniature instruments, the gland is destroyed. The advantage of this type of intervention is that there is no need to perform a large incision, a short postoperative period and a low risk of developing postoperative complications.


This is a surgical intervention, which is the removal of the affected lobe of the gland along with the isthmus. One of the most frequent indications for this operation is multinodal benign neoplasms. In addition, hemithyroidectomy is effective for the treatment of the initial stage of cancer lesions, with adenoma, chronic thyroiditis. An operation is prescribed for large sizes of neoplasms that deform the neck, cause a sensation of suffocation.

To date, the operation is carried out through a small incision on the skin: its size should be sufficient to review the entire operated area and provide an optimal cosmetic effect. This surgery is performed without crossing the short muscles of the neck, which helps to reduce pain, swelling. Cuts are performed with a harmonious scalpel, which helps to reduce blood loss during surgery. The duration of the intervention is about 2 hours. Hemithyroidectomy consists of the following steps:

  1. The doctor on the neck is marking.
  2. The patient is injected into general anesthesia.
  3. The surgeon provides access to the gland by performing an incision on the skin about 6-8 cm long, and separates the neck muscles without an incision.
  4. The doctor visualizes the thyroid gland, assesses the nature of tissue damage, isolates the recurrent laryngeal nerve, the largest neurovascular bundles, and then excises the damaged lobe of the gland along with the isthmus.
  5. The surgeon performs hemostasis, sutures and establishes drainage.


The resection operation is the removal of the affected part of the gland. Indications for use are nodules, benign tumors. Surgery is performed under general anesthesia. The doctor performs a small transverse incision, 5-8 cm in size on the front surface of the neck, after which the pathological gland tissues are separated. In this case, the vessels that feed the gland are neatly bandaged.

As a rule, when resection, the maximum possible amount of gland tissue is left. Sutures are applied to the skin and subcutaneous tissue. The entire resection operation lasts about 2 hours. An uncomplicated surgical wound heals within two to three weeks, in its place there remains a small inconspicuous scar hiding in the folds of the skin. A few days after surgery, substitution therapy with L-thyroxine preparations is started to fill the hormone deficiency in the body.

Postoperative period

After the operation on the thyroid gland is performed, the patient should remain under the supervision of medical personnel for at least three days, provided there are no complications. In some cases, inpatient treatment is extended to 7-10 days, for example, in the presence of exacerbations of chronic concomitant diseases. During the postoperative period, the patient should protect the suture area from contamination and injury using a special patch of silicone and glue. They ensure sterility of the postoperative wound and minimize the risk of scarring, adhesions or scars.

After hospitalization is completed, the patient should visit an endocrinologist to determine the further treatment regimen and the selection of lifelong replacement therapy, iodine preparations. Food during the first week after surgery should consist of mashed low-fat food: boiled meat, fish, liquid cereals and vegetable purees. It is necessary to exclude fermented milk products, solid foods.

In the first month after an operation on the thyroid gland, the patient should lead a calm, measured lifestyle. Nervous, emotional stress, prolonged physical work, sports training should be avoided. It is forbidden to consume any alcohol and tobacco. Monitoring of the patient's condition includes instrumental (x-ray, scintigraphy, ultrasound) and laboratory tests (blood test for thyroid hormones).


Any surgical intervention may be accompanied by some complications. As a rule, they are infrequent, but in some patients they appear. Here are some possible complications after thyroid surgery:

  • bleeding
  • infectious lesions;
  • damage to the recurrent nerve;
  • hypocalcemia;
  • hematoma;
  • damage to the vocal cords.

The consequences of thyroid surgery

In women, the consequences of the operation are more pronounced than in men, due to the fact that many other pathologies of the reproductive, endocrine systems develop against their background:

  • ovarian dysfunction;
  • development of cysts, benign tumors of the pelvic organs;
  • menstrual irregularities (dysmenorrhea).

In addition, complications imply the need for additional instrumental or laboratory examination of the patient, monitoring the functioning of the reproductive organs, consultations with a gynecologist, endocrinologist. If the operation was successful, the body quickly recovers, normal functioning of all vital systems resumes.


The price of surgery on the thyroid gland depends on the complexity of the operation, the need for additional studies and the specifics of the postoperative period. Check out the approximate cost of surgical treatment:

Ongoing operation

Clinic Name

Cost in rubles

Minimally invasive (endoscopic) thyroidectomy

Head and Neck Surgery Clinic


Robotic thyroidectomy

PMIC them. Almazova


Subtotal Resection

Clara Zetkin SM clinic


Laser removal of adenoma, medullary thyroid carcinoma

Best Clinics


Enucleation of a gland cyst

Family Clinic



Treatment center


Attention! The information presented in the article is for guidance only. Materials of the article do not call for independent treatment. Only a qualified doctor can make a diagnosis and give recommendations for treatment based on the individual characteristics of a particular patient.

Watch the video: Caring for Children with Complex Medical Needs (February 2020).