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Thyroid surgery is generally very safe, with very low risk of serious complications.

Has your doctor or surgeon recommended that you consider a hemithyroidectomy procedure? Are you concerned about the safety and recovery process of thyroid surgery?

Read on to learn more about what a hemithyroidectomy procedure entails, including advice about the recovery process and how to ensure a safe, successful thyroid surgery.

Why should I consider a hemithyroidectomy?

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland found in the neck, consisting of two distinct lobes. A hemithyroidectomy refers to the surgical removal of one of the thyroid lobes. It is a safe operation with minimal risk of damage to either the parathyroid glands or the laryngeal nerves, and is often recommended in cases where an isolated thyroid issue needs to be addressed.

There are several reasons why your surgeon may recommend hemithyroidectomy surgery. These include hyperthyroidism due to a solitary hyper-functioning thyroid nodule and suspected thyroid cancer. However, a hemithyroidectomy may also be recommended to relieve compression symptoms, and even for cosmetic reasons (i.e., to remove an unsightly lump in the front of the neck).

What does hemithyroidectomy surgery entail?

A hemithyroidectomy is the removal of one hemisphere of the thyroid gland. This procedure, also referred to as a thyroid lobectomy or partial thyroidectomy, may serve as a highly effective treatment for hyperthyroidism, particularly if the production of excess thyroid hormone is caused by a single toxic thyroid nodule growing on the thyroid gland. 

This procedure is performed under general anaesthetic, and involves a horizontal incision made into one of the creases in the neck. This area is chosen to reduce visible scarring to an absolute minimum. The thyroid gland is then accessed via dissection, and one of the thyroid lobes is surgically removed.

Your voice box will be monitored throughout the surgery, with members of the surgical team dedicated to ensuring that no damage is inflicted to the laryngeal nerves during the hemithyroidectomy procedure.

What is the hemithyroidectomy recovery process?

After the hemithyroidectomy procedure, you may experience a sore throat or hoarse voice for some hours after surgery. These symptoms may persist for a few days, but should improve swiftly after that. Over the counter pain medication and lozenges can provide relief of these symptoms in the short term.

Your diet will be restricted for the first day or so following surgery – with many patients favouring cool, soft foods like Jell-O and yoghurt – but will soon return to normal with no specific restrictions in place. Ensure that you drink plenty of water in the first few days following surgery.

Although you will probably be able to return home on the night of your surgery, ensure that you book some time off work (at least two weeks) to allow yourself the necessary time and space to rest and recover. Refrain from heavy lifting, or any vigorous activity which could strain your neck, for at least three weeks following surgery.

You will be given comprehensive care instructions by your surgical team. Please take note of these and monitor your body as it recovers from the hemithyroidectomy procedure. You may, for example, need to take calcium replacements if these levels drop following your thyroid surgery.

How can we help?

Dr Navin Niles specialises in thyroid, parathyroid, adrenal and salivary gland surgery. He performs more than 400 endocrine procedures annually, giving him an incredible track record of surgical safety and success. For more information about hemithyroidectomy surgery, please read more here.

At the practice of Dr Navin Niles, we empower you to be in control of your care, offering you personalised treatment and surgical excellence. We pride ourselves on taking the time to get to know our patients, listening and responding to each individual’s needs during their journey through the medical system. To book an appointment with our experienced team of specialists, please contact us here.

We understand that the prospect of surgery can be daunting for some patients, and we are here to guide you carefully through each step of the process, from initial consultation to surgery and recovery. We offer a comprehensive range of endocrine surgeries designed to resolve thyroid issues, including hemithyroidectomy, parathyroidectomy, parotidectomy and thyroidectomy treatments. For more information, please consult our website.