The thyroid is a gland located in the front of the neck which secretes two hormones in to the bloodstream. Once active, these hormones play a key role in metabolism and protein synthesis for growth. Unfortunately, as with all organs in the body it sometimes gets problems which need medical treatment.
The thyroid gland has a butterfly shape to it. A thyroid lobectomy operation aims to remove either the left or the right half of the thyroid gland. Several conditions may affect the thyroid gland necessitating a thyroid lobectomy operation. These can include:
- Thyroid cancer isolated to one lobe
- Thyroid nodules on one lobe (whose nature was not established following biopsy)
- Non-malignant thyroid masses isolated to one lobe (sometimes termed Goitre)
If thyroid disorders are left untreated or medicines have failed to control the thyroid’s activity adequately then this can lead to significant longer term health consequences including swelling around the heart and lungs, impaired cognitive ability and obesity.
At a pre-operative assessment clinic, our expert anaesthetists and nurses will conduct a full medical evaluation to ensure it is safe for you to undergo a thyroid lobectomy operation. A thyroid lobectomy is an operation which is performed with the patient under general anaesthetic.
To access the thyroid gland, the surgeon will carefully make a horizontal incision at the front of the neck. Important muscle groups, arteries, veins and nerves are located and bypassed before reaching the thyroid gland.
To extract the thyroid lobe, the surgical team cut the thyroid and depending on the nature of the problem being treated will leave the connecting tissue between the right and left lobe (isthmus) in place or extract the right or left thyroid lobe along with the isthmus.
The lobe will be carefully removed ensuring no damage to any of the other structures in the neck and throat. The incision is closed neatly to leave as cosmetically pleasing scar as possible.
Risks with a total thyroidectomy can include:
- General anaesthetic risks (commonly nausea and fatigue)
- Wound infection
- Laryngeal nerve injury
- Bleeding which is severe cases may compress the windpipe
- Difficulty regulating the thyroid hormones after the operation
Immediately after a thyroid lobectomy you will be closely monitored by your surgical team and our expert nursing staff to ensure there are no complications. Normally patients will only need to stay one night in hospital.
A thyroid lobectomy will be painful but normally this pain settles. Swallowing may be slightly difficult during this period. There may be some hoarseness of the voice which in almost all cases will only remain for a few days.
As part of the thyroid gland has been removed your doctors at Circle Health will manage your thyroid hormone levels with medication instead. Your dose may need adjusting several times before it stabilises for long-term use.