How can surgery treat hyperthyroidism?

Surgery treats hyperthyroidism by removing the thyroid. Hyperthyroidism is often caused by part or all of the thyroid being overactive. Thus, if that part or all of the overactive thyroid is removed it can no longer continue to produce excess hormone. Typically oral thyroid hormone will then be taken daily to replace the normal amount of thyroid that would be produced.

Surgery for hyperthyroidism usually means removing the entire thyroid gland (total thyroidectomy) with the goal of making the patient hypothyroid and then starting thyroid hormone replacement pills. Trying to leave remove enough thyroid to cure the hyperthyroidism while leaving enough thyroid to have normal thyroid function (subtotal thyroidectomy) without medication is very difficult. Even if everything is ok at first, over time, the thyroid can grow back and cause recurrent hyperthyroidism (return of hyperthyroidism). For this reason, most experienced surgeons now perform a total thyroidectomy for the surgical treatment of hyperthyroidism, in order to lower the risk of recurrence that can otherwise occur with leaving part of the thyroid behind.

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