Thyroidectomy, surgical removal of the thyroid gland, is performed for a variety of thyroid abnormalities. Among the more common reasons are thyroid nodules, thyroid cysts, thyroid enlargement due to multi-nodular goiter, and some cases of Graves Disease.
Surgery is performed as either a lobectomy (removal of one lobe, or half, of the gland) or total thyroidectomy (removal of the entire gland). The type of surgery that is performed depends on the reason for surgery. Patients with benign disease involving only one lobe generally require only a lobectomy, whereas patients with malignant disease, or benign disease involving both lobes may require total thyroidectomy.
Recovery from thyroid surgery is generally easy, although this varies from person to person. Postoperative pain is usually moderate and lasts a few days. Most patients resume a full diet shortly after surgery. Activity is limited for one to two weeks to avoid straining the neck, after which full activities can be resumed.
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