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Thyroid Diseases

Thyroid Surgery

05/11/2009

Question:

I am going for surgery to remove right side of nodule in thyroid which I have from 10 years. It was same but now increased. What are the complications of this surgery? How many days could I not speak or eat? Could my voice be different after surgery? I am 42 years old and in good health. Please help me. Thanks a lot.

Answer:

Most surgeons do not remove just a nodule, rather they would remove half the thyroid (thyroid lobe) which contains the nodule. Usually a needle aspirate of the nodule is done first to help determine the need and extent of surgery.

The major general complications relate to the anesthesia, bleeding, risk of infection, and scarring.  Specific to thyroid operations are risk of injury to the nerves, the voice box, and glands, which control calcium levels in blood. 

This is part of the informed consent process. This and all your questions should be answered by your surgeon.  If he or she refuses, you should find another surgeon.

For more information:

Go to the Thyroid Diseases health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Jeffrey J Sussman, MD Jeffrey J Sussman, MD
Associate Professor of Surgery, Chief, Division of Surgical Oncology
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati