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Hyperthyroidism - Surgery

Surgery for hyperthyroidism (thyroidectomy) removes part or all of the thyroid gland. Doctors rarely use this surgery to treat hyperthyroidism. You may need surgery if:

  • Your thyroid gland is so big that it is hard for you to swallow or breathe.
  • You have thyroid cancer or your doctor suspects you have thyroid cancer. For more information, see the topic Thyroid Cancer.
  • You had serious side effects from taking antithyroid medicines. And radioactive iodine is not an option for you.
  • You have a large goiter that radioactive iodine treatment did not shrink.
  • You have a single, large thyroid nodule that is making too much thyroid hormone, and radioactive iodine did not effectively treat the nodule.

What to think about

If you are having surgery, your doctor will have you take antithyroid medicines before surgery to bring your thyroid hormone levels as close to normal as possible.

After surgery, your doctor will check your thyroid hormone levels regularly, because you may develop hypothyroidism (too little thyroid hormone). Hypothyroidism is treated with thyroid hormone medicine. For more information, see the topic Hypothyroidism.

Surgery is the fastest way to treat your hyperthyroidism. But it is not used very often and is more risky than other treatments.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: June 10, 2013
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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