Thyroid cancer incidence is on the rise; however, fortunately, the death rate is stable. Most persons with well-differentiated thyroid cancer have a low risk of recurrence at the time of diagnosis and can expect a normal life expectancy. Over the last two decades, guidelines have recommended less aggressive therapy for low-risk cancer and a more personalized approach to treatment of thyroid cancer overall. The American Thyroid Association (ATA) and National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) thyroid cancer guidelines recommend hemithyroidectomy as an acceptable surgical treatment option for low-risk thyroid cancer. Given this change in treatment paradigms, an increasing number of people are undergoing hemithyroidectomy rather than total or near-total thyroidectomy as their primary surgical treatment of thyroid cancer. The postoperative follow-up of hemithyroidectomy patients differs from those who have undergone total or near-total thyroidectomy, and the long-term monitoring with imaging and biomarkers can also be different. This article reviews indications for hemithyroidectomy, as well as postoperative considerations and management recommendations for those who have undergone hemithyroidectomy.
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