Here's a story about a technique of thyroid surgery that is no longer being done
During one summer of my college years in the mid-1960s, I worked as an orderly at a community hospital in my hometown. There are no orderlies anymore. I guess the closest thing would be a "patient care technician." Orderlies used to push patients around on gurneys, help the nurses change beds, clean up poop, run errands, and do whatever no one else wanted to do. It was common for premed students to do at least one summer of orderly work to demonstrate their commitment to becoming a doctor. I suppose it's analogous to today's premed students' doing a summer of research cleaning test tubes.
Anyway, back to the story. A woman was admitted with thyrotoxicosis, a hyperactive thyroid gland resistant to whatever medications were being used to suppress thyroid function at the time.
She was scheduled for a total thyroidectomy, but the stress of anesthesia and surgery was known to induce a potentially fatal condition called a "thyroid storm." A thyroid storm can still occasionally occur in patients with untreated hyperthyroidism. Some symptoms of thyroid storm are fever, rapid heart rate, agitation, delirium, tremor, and low blood pressure, among others.
In the early 1900s, the threat of this problem prompted a famous early thyroid surgeon, George Crile, to devise a plan for "stealing" the gland.
Following Crile's script, what we did with our hyperthyroid lady was to visit her every day dressed in our surgical scrubs. The anesthesiologist would fiddle with her IV and talk to her. The OR nurse and I would chat with her too. All of this was done so that she could become accustomed to our presence. The idea was to one day anesthetize the patient in her bed and take her to the operating room for her thyroidectomy. Since the patient did not know on which day her surgery would occur, she was not so anxious.
A few days went by. One day we were told, "Today's the day." When we went into the room, the anesthesiologist, instead of just fiddling with the IV, injected some sodium pentothal, and the patient fell asleep. Off we went to the OR, and the operation was done.
These days, it's a good thing that hyperthyroidism can be treated with more effective medication. I doubt that insurance companies would pay for a three or four day preoperative hospital stay so that the thyroid gland could be stolen.