What is the surgical technique for removing the thyroid gland in a thyroidectomy?

Updated: May 08, 2018
  • Author: Neerav Goyal, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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After identifying and stimulating the recurrent laryngeal nerve, the thyroid gland can be removed. Berry’s ligament defines the posterolateral attachment of the thyroid gland. Blunt dissection can be used to further expose this fascial attachment. Then a harmonic scalpel can be used to transect the ligament. Often, a minimal amount of thyroid tissue is left adjacent to the entrance of the recurrent laryngeal nerve into the larynx, to reduce the risk of injuring the nerve.

If the patient is undergoing a total thyroidectomy, attention should first be turned to the opposite thyroid lobe and recurrent laryngeal nerve. Once the entire specimen has been dissected and is only attached posteriorly to the pretracheal fascia, it can be removed. The removed specimen should be inspected.

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