A hemithyroidectomy is a surgical procedure where only half of the thyroid gland is removed in cases where a suspicious nodule is found on one side or the fine needle aspiration (FNA) cannot definitely determine if a nodule is benign or malignant. In these situations a small incision is made in the lower central neck, usually a minimally invasive incision (1 – 1.5 inches), to remove the suspicious half of the gland. Once removed the nodule and thyroid lobe is looked at by a pathologist intraoperatively and the results relayed back to the surgeon. If the lesion looks benign, then the patient’s wound is closed and the patient is awoken from anesthesia. If the lesion is indeterminate then the patient is also awoken to await for final pathology results within one week. If the lesion is definitely malignant, then a completion thyroidectomy of the other lobe is performed at the same time so the patient does not require a second surgery at a later time. Most patients who have a hemithyroidectomy done are able to leave 6 to 8 hours after surgery on the same day. Dr. Alen Cohen and Dr. Jerome Vener routinely perform hemithyroidectomy in Los Angeles and have extensive experience with the proper workup and treatment of patients with thyroid nodules.
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