Thyroidectomy (Thyroid Gland Removal)

What is a thyroidectomy (thyroid gland removal)?


Thyroidectomy is the removal of all or part of your thyroid gland. The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland in your neck that produces hormones to regulate your metabolism, and is an important function for physiological processes.

How it works

There are several approaches to a thyroidectomy including:

  • Conventional, open thyroidectomy, which removes half or the whole thyroid gland through a cut in the lower mid neck.
  • Transoral thyroidectomy, which avoids a neck incision by using an incision inside the mouth.
  • Endoscopic thyroidectomy, which uses smaller incisions in the neck. Surgical instruments and a small video camera are inserted through the incisions to guide your surgeon through the procedure.
  • Robotic thyroidectomy, which is an advanced robotic surgery. Robotic thyroidectomy completely removes the thyroid gland through a point of entry in the armpit instead of the neck, therefore leaving no visible neck scar.

Types of thyroidectomies

Thyroidectomies can be total or partial. The main types of thyroid surgery are:

  • Total thyroidectomy – removal of the entire thyroid gland
  • Lobectomy or hemithyroidectomy – removal of half of the thyroid gland
  • Near-total thyroidectomy – removal of most of the thyroid gland but leaving a little tissue on one side
  • Isthmusectomy – removal of the central part of the thyroid gland

Why do you need a thyroidectomy?

Thyroidectomy is used to treat thyroid disorders such as:

  • Cancer
  • Noncancerous enlargement of the thyroid (goitre)
  • Overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism)

Your doctor may recommend a thyroid removal surgery if you:

  • Are suspected of having thyroid cancer.
  • Have an enlarged nodule in the thyroid that causes compression of surrounding structures in the neck, such as the trachea (windpipe) or oesophagus.
  • Have difficulty swallowing or breathing due to an enlarged thyroid gland or nodule.
  • Want a visibly enlarged thyroid near your neck removed for cosmetic reasons.
  • Have hyperthyroidism that does not respond to medical treatment.

A thyroidectomy also helps to maintain thyroid hormone levels and create a better sense of well-being.

What are the risks of a thyroidectomy?

A thyroidectomy is generally a safe procedure, but it carries a potential risk of complications including:

  • Bleeding, blood clots and airway obstruction as a result of bleeding
  • Hypoparathyroidism or low parathyroid hormone levels which can cause numbness, tingling or cramping
  • Infection
  • Injury to the oesophagus or windpipe
  • Nerve damage causing voice changes
  • Sore throat

Why choose Mount Elizabeth Hospitals?

At Mount Elizabeth Hospitals, our team of skilled otorhinolaryngology surgeons will recommend a suitable treatment plan for your thyroid condition.

We are known in Singapore and around the region for our patient-centric focus, well-equipped clinical facilities and professional care. Our patients with thyroid problems benefit from minimally invasive surgical techniques like robotic thyroid surgery or more conventional open thyroidectomy approaches, depending on their condition.

Estimated cost

Private healthcare can be affordable. Use our Hospital Bill Estimator to determine the estimated cost of this procedure. If you have hospital insurance, find out how you can use your insurance.

Our specialists

At Mount Elizabeth Hospitals, our ENT specialists work together with general surgeons and endocrinologists to bring together their expertise and experience across different medical specialties.

Our specialists are skilled in clinical procedures, including thyroid gland removal surgery, for patients with thyroid conditions.

Please check with your insurance provider for more information, and for their most up-to-date list of panel doctors.

^Specialists may qualify to be on the Extended Panel (EP). You may enjoy selected panel benefits depending on your policy and riders.
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