The thyroid is a gland located in the neck on each side of the trachea (windpipe). Its function is to produce thyroid hormone, which regulates your metabolism, or energy level. Sometimes growths or nodules can occur in the thyroid gland. Most of these are benign (non-cancerous). However, some can be cancerous. If you are found to have a growth or nodule in your thyroid gland, your doctor may recommend special testing such as an ultrasound, biopsy, thyroid scan or CT scan. If this testing does not rule out the possibility of a cancer, your physician may then recommend thyroid surgery. Depending on the type and location of the nodule, your surgeon may need to remove one or both sides of the thyroid.
You will be under general anesthesia throughout the two hours that is takes to complete this surgery. You will have an incision along the lower portion of your neck and possibly a small drain. Most patients spend one to three days in the hospital to watch for changes in lab work and swallowing ability. Total recovery time is typically two to four weeks after which you may resume your normal activities without limitations. Some patients will need to take thyroid medication long-term.