Surgery of the Thyroid Gland

The Thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland located at the front of the neck, just below the Adams apple.  The gland produces thyroid hormone which has a major role in regulating many aspects of health including:

The rate of metabolism, i.e. the use of fats, proteins, sugars and starches by the body
• Body weight
• Body temperature
• Heart rate
• Blood pressure
• Mental alertness
• Muscles and nerves
• Growth in children

Iodine, an element found in small quantities in many foods, is taken up by the thyroid and used to make thyroid hormone.

 When is surgery needed:

• Surgery of the thyroid may be needed if it is:
• Too active (hyperthyroidisim or thyrotoxicosis)
• Enlarged (hyoertrophied) or nodular, producing a goitre
• Cancerous or suspected of being cancerous

Surgery to remove the whole thyroid is called a total thyroidectomy.  Removal of half the thyroid gland is called a hemithyroidectomy.