Surgery for Thyroid Cancer

Minimally Invasive Approach

At Scott & White, the majority of our thyroidectomies are performed with minimally invasive techniques. Benefits of minimally invasive surgery include:

  • Better cosmetic result
  • Quicker recovery times, allowing you to:
    • Return to your daily routine sooner
    • Begin future treatment sooner
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Less pain
  • Less blood loss
  • Lower risk of infection
  • Fewer complications

Not all patients are candidates for a minimally invasive approach. Factors affecting the decision to use minimally invasive techniques include:

  • Tumor size, stage or location
  • Patient obesity and health
  • Prior surgeries

Surgery is often the first treatment approach for thyroid cancer. At Scott & White, our philosophy is to use minimally invasive techniques whenever possible.

As with all operations, there are some risks. Your surgeon will discuss these risks with you.

Surgical Procedures


A thyroidectomy is the surgical removal of the thyroid gland. Your surgeon will make a small incision in your neck and remove your thyroid gland. Your surgeon will also check your surrounding lymph nodes.

If cancer has spread to the lymph nodes in your neck, your surgeon will perform a lymphadenectomy, or surgical removal of your lymph nodes.

During your surgery, your surgeon will use electronic intraoperative nerve monitoring, which maps the nerves in your neck area, allowing your surgeon to know that the nerves responsible for the function of your vocal cords are functioning properly during and after surgery.

Thyroid Hormone Replacement After Surgery

After your thyroidectomy, your body won’t be making the thyroid hormone, which you need for normal functioning. You’ll need to take a hormone replacement. Thyroid hormone replacement is called levothyroxine. It’s usually taken orally by pill. Your doctor will discuss thyroid hormone replacement with you.

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