What Is a Thyroidectomy?
This procedure is a neck surgery to remove all or part of a thyroid. The thyroid controls many critical body functions by releasing hormones. Thyroidectomies are used to treat thyroid cancer as well as some cases of thyroid disease, goiter, and hyperthyroidism.
What Are the Side Effects of Having Your Thyroid Removed?
Immediately after thyroid removal surgery, you may experience:
- Pain around the incision
- Sore throat
- Trouble swallowing
- A hoarse voice
What Are the Long-Term Side Effects of Thyroid Removal?
During surgery, the parathyroid glands in the back of the throat are sometimes injured. This can cause some patients to have trouble controlling their calcium levels for as long as six months after surgery. If you have any symptoms of this (such as numbness or tingling in the mouth and fingers), let us know so we can treat it.
If you have your thyroid completely removed, you will need thyroid replacement therapy to avoid getting hypothyroidism. Patients who get a subtotal (or partial) removal only experience hypothyroidism in about 20 percent of cases, but call us if you have symptoms such as feeling cold, dry skin, weight gain, fatigue, and depression.
What to Expect After My Thyroid is Removed
After surgery, you’ll be monitored for signs of bleeding or swelling. Most patients go home the same day. You may have a small drain placed to prevent hematoma. This is removed in the office a few days later.
You should keep your head and neck elevated to reduce swelling and eat softer foods.
We will go over any medications or vitamin supplements you’ll need after surgery before releasing you and give you instructions for caring for the incision. Avoid getting your neck wet while recovering.
You should expect a two-week recovery period. While recovering, avoid working out, heavy lifting, or excess activity. While taking the pain medications, you should also avoid driving.