Operation Details


You will be asleep for the operation. The incision is made in a curve in the skin low in the neck. The operation will usually last 2-3 hours. A cosmetic, plastic surgical closure is performed.

  • The extent of operation depends on your particular case:
  • There can be removal of only one lobe of the thyroid. This is call a lobectomy (also known as a hemithyroidectomy).
  • Removal of one lobe plus the majority of the opposite lobe is called a subtotal thyroidectomy and is done for hyperthyroidism.
  • A near total thyroidectomy is functionally the same as a total thyroidectomy and is performed for cancer.
  • The parathyroid glands are preserved and not purposely removed. On occasion it is necessary to autotransplant a parathyroid gland into a neck muscle. These glands function well after a few weeks of recovery.

Thyroid Diagram

Illustration by Rebecca J. Corbett

Thyroid Diagram 2

Illustration by Rebecca J. Corbett


This information is provided by the Department of Surgery at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. It is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for advice about a specific medical condition.