Using this guide What's covered
Here you’ll find answers to many of your questions about thyroid surgery (thyroidectomy). Learn how it’s done, what it may cost, what your recovery may be like, and more.
To see how the surgery works, view our animation below.
For personal insights, see our patient experience videos in which HCF members talk frankly about their preparation, surgery and recovery.
What’s the thyroid gland?
Your thyroid gland is in the front of your neck, below your voice box. It consists of two lobes, like butterfly wings. It produces hormones that control a number of bodily functions including your energy level, temperature, heart rate, and muscle tone. If your thyroid produces too much or not enough thyroid hormone, you can experience a wide range of symptoms.
Why might I need thyroid surgery?
Thyroid surgery can involve removing some or all of your thyroid gland. Reasons may include:
- a large thyroid lump or nodule causing pressure symptoms or cosmetic concerns
- an enlarged thyroid (goitre) that’s affecting your ability to swallow and/or breathe, or is at risk of doing so because it‘s growing or extending into your chest
- a lump biopsy result or ultrasound image that is suspicious, or might be cancer
- an overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism or Grave’s disease)
- thyroid cancer.
How does thyroid surgery work?
There are several different types of surgery:
- total thyroidectomy removes your entire thyroid — the left and right lobes
- hemithyroidectomy removes one lobe of your thyroid gland
- thyroid nodulectomy removes a thyroid nodule and leaves the rest of your thyroid gland intact. This is not often recommended by surgeons.
The type and extent of your surgery will depend on your condition.
Alternatives to thyroid surgery
There may be non-surgical alternatives for thyroid problems, depending on your condition.
Types of thyroid surgery
There are several different types of thyroid surgery.
Results vs risks of the procedure
The benefits and potential complications of thyroid surgery.
Choosing a specialist
How to find a surgeon who specialises in thyroid surgery.
Give us feedback
FIND A HEALTH PROFESSIONAL
Search for providers who participate in our More for You program. Find physios, chiros, podiatrists and more.
HOSPITAL SAFETY & QUALITY SEARCH
Compare hospital safety and quality data before deciding where you're treated.
Find a doctor
Search for specialists who participate in our Medicover no-gap or known-gap scheme.
MANAGE YOUR HEALTH
Programs and resources to set you up for a healthier future.