Total Thyroidectomy (for Thyrotoxicosis)
Total thyroid surgery removes all of your thyroid gland. It is performed to treat thyrotoxicosis, most often when your thyroid gland is severely swollen or you have acute symptoms such as eye problems caused by an overactive thyroid. Total thyroidectomy is also done if thyroid cancer is suspected from biopsies.
What is total thyroidectomy
Your thyroid is a butterfly-shaped organ at the base of your neck that produces a hormone called thyroxine which regulates your body's metabolism. It can produce too much thyroid hormone if you have thyrotoxicosis.
Total thyroidectomy is the entire removal of your thyroid gland. Your surgeon will explain why it is recommended in your case. It is usually advised to stop the symptoms of hyperthyroidism.
A total thyroidectomy is performed under a general anaesthetic and usually takes 90 minutes to two hours.
Your surgeon will make a cut on your neck in the line of one of your skin creases and remove your thyroid gland. They will then close your wound.
You will be in the hospital usually one night.
What causes thyrotoxicosis?
Thyrotoxicosis is when you have an excess of thyroid hormone in the body. You will also have a low level of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) as your pituitary gland will sense that you have enough thyroid hormone.
Thyrotoxicosis can be caused by:
- Hyperthyroidism - the main cause of thyrotoxicosis. Also known as an overactive thyroid as your thyroid gland over actively produces too much thyroid hormone.
- Grave’s Disease - is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism. If you have Grave’s Disease your immune system attacks your thyroid cells with antibodies. This makes your thyroid gland grow, sometimes referred to as a goitre, and make too much thyroid hormone. Grave’s Disease tends to run in families.
- Nodules - lumps called nodules can develop on your thyroid and produce thyroid hormones, causing your levels to be too high. You may have a single nodule or multiple nodules. Most nodules are noncancerous.
- Iodine from medication – medication that contains iodine can cause your thyroid to produce excess thyroid hormones. Amiodarone, which is sometimes used to control an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) is an example. It may take time, but stopping taking the medication will usually take your thyroid hormone levels back to a normal level.
- Thyroiditis – inflammation of your thyroid that can make it release too much hormone into your bloodstream.
- Thyroid cancer – a cancerous thyroid tumour can affect your thyroid hormone production.
- Pregnancy – human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) hormone is produced during pregnancy and may cause slight enlargement of your thyroid gland.
What are the signs and symptoms of thyrotoxicosis?
You may not have any signs or symptoms if you have mild thyrotoxicosis. As the condition progresses you may experience some distressing symptoms as your body’s functions speed up. These can include:
- Weight loss
- Intolerance to heat
- Fast heartbeat
- Increased perspiration
- Increased bowel movements
- Irritability and nervousness
- Red, watery and bulging eyes
What is the recovery process after a total thyroidectomy
Most people recover fairly quickly after total thyroidectomy and resume normal activities, including returning to work, within one to two weeks.
For a few days you may feel a bit sore, have neck pain and a hoarse or weak voice. This may be due to irritation from the breathing tube used during surgery or nerve irritation caused by the surgery. Your healthcare team will provide you with appropriate pain relief.
We will arrange a follow up appointment with you to review the results.
Your scar will fade over time and is usually hardly noticeable after six months to a year.
You will need to take replacement hormone tablets every day for the rest of your life to prevent symptoms of an underactive thyroid.
You will need to have a thyroid function blood test approximately once a year.
What is the cost of a surgery for a total thyroidectomy
You will receive a formal quotation price following your consultation with one of our expert surgeons. This formal quote for your total thyroidectomy surgery will be valid for 60 days and includes unlimited aftercare.
Ramsay is recognised by all major medical insurers. Total thyroidectomy is covered by most medical insurance policies. We advise you to obtain written authorisation from your insurance provider before starting your treatment.
We have a number of finance options if you are paying for your total thyroidectomy surgery yourself. These include:
- Interest-free finance – 0% interest, no deposit and affordable monthly instalments.
- All-inclusive Total Care - one-off pre-agreed payment for access to all the treatment you need for complete reassurance.
- Pay as you go – flexible funding to pay for treatment as and when costs arise. Often used if your treatment costs are difficult to assess.
Total thyroidectomy at Ramsay Health Care UK
As Ramsay Health Care UK, you can rest assured you are in safe and highly experienced hands if you need to have a total thyroidectomy.
In all of our Ramsay hospitals we have skilled and proficient surgeons who regularly performs thyroid operations including total thyroidectomy.
You will have access to convenient appointments to allow you to smoothly, efficiently and quickly treat your thyroid problem without waiting.
We also offer 0% finance and fixed price packages with unlimited aftercare for peace of mind.
We follow strict protocols to keep you safe during your visit to one of our Ramsay Health Care hospitals.