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WHEN IS A THYROIDECTOMY PERFORMED?

There are several reasons to perform a thyroidectomy.

1) To treat thyroid cancer, of which there are several different types.

2) To treat large benign thyroid nodules.

3) To establish a diagnosis, when a fine needle aspiration biopsy (used to diagnose many thyroid nodules) cannot do so.

4) To treat compressive symptoms such as difficulty swallowing or difficulty breathing. This can happen when the thyroid gland becomes hyperplastic or enlarges. This can also happen if the thyroid gland grows into the chest and compresses the trachea.

5) To treat patients with Graves’ disease (which causes hyperthyroidism), who do not wish to take medication for control of their symptoms or whose symptoms are not well controlled with medications.

6) For cosmetic reasons. If the thyroid is too large, some patients prefer having the gland removed.

**Each patient and case is different; there is no straightforward thyroid case. Consult with your surgeon and make sure you clearly understand the indications for surgery.**