The thyroid gland is located at the base of the neck. It is responsible for making hormones that regulate heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and metabolism. Two examples of these hormones are thyroxine and triiodothyronine. When making hormones, the thyroid relies on iodine, a mineral present in iodized salt and certain foods. However, several conditions can affect the thyroid gland's function.
Thankfully, a thyroidectomy can be quite helpful when individuals are experiencing thyroid problems. This surgery can act as a treatment for thyroid cancer. In addition, some patients may need it as a hyperthyroidism treatment when thyroid medications have not worked. A thyroidectomy may act as a goiter treatment for some patients as well. Of course, patients must understand how this procedure works first.
When A Thyroidectomy Is Performed
Most thyroidectomies are performed to treat thyroid cancer. However, the procedure may be considered for patients with less serious thyroid conditions if medications and other therapies have not worked. For example, patients with an overactive thyroid, also called hyperthyroidism, can benefit from this procedure. Specifically, they may need a thyroidectomy if they have not responded to anti-thyroid medication.
The procedure may also be helpful for patients who cannot undergo radioactive iodine therapy. A thyroidectomy could be appropriate for individuals with an enlarged thyroid (goiter) that is causing discomfort, breathing difficulties, or trouble swallowing. Patients with thyroid nodules usually have a needle biopsy to determine if the nodules are cancerous. If the biopsy results are inconclusive, this procedure may be necessary if there is a high likelihood that the nodules may be malignant.