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When can we save half a thyroid gland ?

Updated: Nov 14, 2023

As an experienced ENT surgeon, I often encounter patients who require surgery for thyroid conditions. In some cases, a hemithyroidectomy may be necessary. In this article, I will discuss when a hemithyroidectomy is needed, how it differs from a total thyroidectomy, and the necessary steps involved in making the diagnosis and planning for surgery.


Hemithyroidectomy vs. Total Thyroidectomy:


A hemithyroidectomy is a surgical procedure where one half of the thyroid gland is removed. This procedure is typically performed when a patient has a benign nodule or a small cancerous nodule in one half of the thyroid gland. The remaining half of the gland can still function normally, producing the necessary hormones needed for the body's metabolism.


A total thyroidectomy, on the other hand, involves the complete removal of the thyroid gland. This procedure is typically performed when a patient has a large cancerous nodule that has spread throughout the gland, or if the patient has Graves' disease, a condition where the thyroid gland produces too much hormone.


As an ENT surgeon, there are several clinical factors that I consider when deciding between a hemithyroidectomy or total thyroidectomy for a patient.


Firstly, the size and nature of the thyroid nodule or lesion is important. If the nodule is smaller than 1 cm in size, a hemithyroidectomy may be sufficient. However, if the nodule is larger or there are multiple nodules, a total thyroidectomy may be necessary.


Secondly, the presence or absence of thyroid cancer is a key consideration. If the nodule is suspicious for cancer or a biopsy confirms cancer, a total thyroidectomy is typically recommended to ensure complete removal of the cancerous tissue.


Thirdly, the patient's age and overall health status is also taken into account. For older patients or those with significant comorbidities, a hemithyroidectomy may be preferred to reduce the risk of surgical complications.


Finally, the patient's personal preference and input is important. I always take the time to discuss the options with my patients and ensure that they are fully informed and involved in the decision-making process.


In conclusion, a hemithyroidectomy may be necessary in cases where a patient has a benign or small cancerous nodule in one half of the thyroid gland. This procedure is carefully planned and executed to ensure the best possible outcome for the patient. As an experienced ENT surgeon, I work closely with my patients to make a diagnosis and develop a personalized treatment plan. If you are experiencing symptoms of a thyroid condition, don't hesitate to schedule an appointment with me.

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