What is the role of surgery in the treatment of thyroid cancer?

Updated: May 14, 2020
  • Author: Pramod K Sharma, MD; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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Thyroid surgery is performed to diagnose or treat thyroid disease. The extent of surgery ranges from isthmectomy alone (for small nodules truly localized to the isthmus) to subtotal thyroidectomy, total thyroidectomy, or extended thyroidectomy. Radioiodine studies performed after total thyroidectomy usually show residual normal thyroid tissue despite total thyroidectomy.

Principles of thyroid surgery are accurate execution of the planned excision, avoidance of injury to the recurrent laryngeal nerve, avoidance of injury to or devascularization of the parathyroid glands, and meticulous hemostasis.

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