by EBSCO Medical Review Board

Thyroidectomy is the surgical treatment of hyperthyroidism. Though popular in the past, it is not done often anymore. The following are situations in which surgical treatment may be appropriate to consider:

  • You have Graves disease and cannot tolerate anti-thyroid medications or are not a good candidate for treatment with radioactive iodine .
  • You have a very large thyroid gland that interferes with breathing or swallowing.
  • You have a child with hyperthyroidism.
  • You are pregnant and have hyperthyroidism. (Although anti-thyroid medication is considered the first-line treatment for pregnant women.)

Surgery is a permanent cure for hyperthyroidism in almost all cases. But, surgery may result in hypothyroidism , a condition that requires ongoing medical treatment and medicine. Uncommon complications of surgery include:

  • Hoarseness from vocal cord paralysis
  • Bleeding
  • Infected wound site
  • Temporary low serum calcium

If you are considering surgery, be sure to choose an experienced surgeon.


Thyroidectomy is the surgical removal of all or part of the thyroid gland. This gland is in the neck. It produces hormones that regulate metabolism. The surgery may be a:

  • Total or near-total thyroidectomy—all of the thyroid is removed
  • Thyroid lobectomy or partial thyroidectomy—removal of only a part of the thyroid (the right or left lobe and/or center)

After a thyroidectomy, you may need to take daily thyroid, calcium, or vitamin D supplements.


Hyperthyroidism (thyrotoxicosis). Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: Updated July 2016. Accessed November 28, 2017.

Hyperthyroidism and thyrotoxicosis. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:  . Updated July 27, 2017. Accessed November 28, 2017.

Palit TK, Miller CC, Miltenburg DM. The efficacy of thyoridectomy for Graves disease. A meta-analysis. J Surg Res. 2000;90(2):161-165.

6/10/2014 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance  : Alhefdhi A, Mazeh H, Chen H. Role of postoperative vitamin D and/or calcium routine supplementation in preventing hypocalcemia after thyroidectomy: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Oncologist. 2013;18(5):553-542.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board James Cornell, MD
  • Review Date: 11/2018
  • Update Date: 12/20/2014