Thyroid tumours must be adequately investigated to properly determine the need for surgery. Often the safest treatment is ongoing monitoring of thyroid nodules. This can even be considered in the case of some small thyroid cancers if they are not growing.
There are a number of indications for surgery of the thyroid gland including:
- malignancy or suspected malignancy
- compression of the trachea or oesophagus
- overactive thyroid glands such as Graves’ disease
- multinodular goitre with extension into the chest
The recurrent laryngeal nerve runs in close approximation to the gland and can be injured during surgery. The vocal cords are assessed prior to surgery and a monitor is used throughout the operation to minimise the chance of injury to these nerves.
Your surgeon will discuss the indication for thyroid surgery and establish a surveillance plan if surgery is not immediately required.