Total Thyroidectomy

A total thyroidectomy may be done for a variety of diseases including thyroid cancer, Graves’ disease (See Hyperthyroidism »), multinodular goiter, and substernal goiter, among others. In certain cases, the surgeon may choose to perform a near-total thyroidectomy in which a small piece of thyroid tissue is left behind usually in the area of the parathyroid glands and recurrent laryngeal nerve in order to avoid damaging these structures. After a total thyroidectomy, patients will need to take thyroid hormone replacement pills (one pill a day for the rest of their lives).