Surgery for thyroid cancer
There are a few different types of surgeries that may be used to treat thyroid cancer.
- Lobectomy: For small, well differentiated tumors that have not spread beyond the thyroid gland, a lobectomy may sometimes be performed. In this type of thyroid cancer surgery, the lobe containing the cancer is removed, leaving the other healthy lobe behind. This can reduce the need to take thyroid hormone treatment after surgery, since a functioning part of the thyroid remains.
- Thyroidectomy: In this procedure, most or all of the thyroid gland is removed by surgery (total, near-total or subtotal thyroidectomy). This type of surgery for thyroid cancer is used for most patients. However, because very little or no functioning thyroid tissue is left behind, patients will need to take daily thyroid hormone replacement pills afterwards.
- Lymph node removal: When the surgeon suspects that the thyroid cancer cells have spread to nearby lymph nodes, they will remove the enlarged or suspicious nodes in order to remove as much of the cancer as possible. This thyroid cancer surgical procedure is usually performed at the same time as the surgery on the primary tumor.