The treatment chosen by a doctor will depend on a patient's condition. The most common medical treatments and surgeries are described here.


An overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) can be treated with medicines that slow down production of thyroid hormones. Radioactive iodine or anti-thyroid medicines are used to reduce thyroid hormone production. But both of these treatments can result in an underactive thyroid, which then also requires treatment.

An underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) is treated by replacing the hormone that is not being produced in enough quantities. The medicines used for this may also be used to treat thyroid cancer or other thyroid conditions.


In certain cases, an operation to remove some or all of the thyroid gland may be needed. For example:
































  • If there is a large goiter or nodule (growth on the thyroid) that is pressing on the windpipe or causing other symptoms because of its size
  • If thyroid medicines are not able to be tolerated (i.e., there are severe side effects)
  • If radioiodine therapy is not wanted or possible
  • If there are thyroid nodules that are cancerous, if cancer cannot be ruled out, or if the nodule continues to grow despite medical treatment
































There are several different types of thyroid surgery, such as:
































  • Biopsy or Lumpectomy: Only a small part of the thyroid is removed.
  • Lobectomy: Half of the thyroid gland is removed.
  • Sub-total Thyroidectomy: A small amount of thyroid tissue on both sides is left after surgery.
  • Near-total Thyroidectomy: About a gram of thyroid tissue is left on one side after surgery.
  • Total Thyroidectomy: All of the thyroid tissue is removed.
































A doctor will help to decide if thyroid surgery is the appropriate treatment. If it is, it will either be traditional thyroid surgery or minimally invasive thyroid surgery.
































































A minimally invasive approach leaves only a tiny scar that may be less visible. The surgery may be done under local or general anaesthetic. Depending on the extent of the surgery, it may or may not require an overnight stay in the hospital.

































In traditional open thyroid surgery, a 2 to 8 cm incision is made in the skin of the lower part of the neck. The surgery is done under a general anaesthetic which will mean staying in the hospital for one or two days afterwards.