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How Long Does It Take To Recover From Thyroid Surgery

Pain Management At Home

What to Expect After Thyroid Surgery – James Wu, MD

Take NSAIDS like ibuprofen , naproxen or acetaminophen for the first 3-5 days as needed. Take medication as directed on the medication container. To prevent acetaminophen overdose, do not take acetaminophen when you are taking the pain reliever – Percocet – that was prescribed on your discharge from the hospital. They both contain acetaminophen. If you take the Percocet or any other narcotic – DO NOT drive a car or drink alcohol.

How To Prepare For Thyroid Surgery

Once you are scheduled for thyroid surgery, you should do a few things to make sure that you are properly prepared. In the days leading up to your surgery, you want to maintain a healthy diet and make sure to get lots of rest.

Schedule a ride home after surgery as you will not be in any shape to drive.

Check with your doctor before you take your prescribed medications and any OTC supplements you may be taking stop all blood thinners prior to surgery according to your surgeons instructions.

Do not eat or drink anything after midnight on the day of the surgery.

Arrive at least two hours before your scheduled surgery so that you can be prepared in enough time before surgery begins.

It is important to go over all of these different components and any questions you may have from your doctor before you show up at the facility for surgery.

Morning of Surgery

Before you leave for the hospital, you can take a shower or bath. Make sure to use standard soap and warm water for your shower. You do not need to apply any perfume or lotion onto your body before surgery. Also, do not attempt to shave the area where the surgery will be. Allow the medical team to take care of this during the preparation stage.

Further Treatment After Surgery

All tissue removed during the surgery is examined for cancer cells by a pathologist. The results will help confirm the type of cancer you have and determine whether you will require further treatment.

For some people this may mean more surgery to remove any remaining thyroid tissue. Other people may need thyroid hormone replacement therapy, radioactive iodine treatment or targeted therapy.

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Is Thyroid Surgery Outpatient

With our surgeons it almost always is as we perform minimally invasive thyroid surgery with minimal recovery. However, if a patient has significant medical issues or needs extensive surgery, your surgeon may elect to have the procedure done at a hospital setting and may ask the patient to stay overnight.

What To Expect The Day Of Surgery Commonly Asked Questions

Total Thyroidectomy Removal Surgery by Dr Majid Ahmed ...

A thyroidectomy can take anywhere from one to six hours once you are asleep depending on the type of surgery you are having.

  • Most patients that undergo a total thyroidectomy will go home that same day after spending 5-6 hours in the recovery room.
  • Patients with Graves disease, multiple medical problems, live far away, or are having a lateral neck dissection will spend one night in the hospital.

One of the rare side effects of thyroid surgery is injury to one of the recurrent laryngeal nerves that controls your voice. This complication occurs permanently in about 0.5-1% of patients. However, it is not uncommon to experience some temporary hoarseness after surgery.

Yes. A nerve monitor is used during your entire thyroid operation. This allows the surgeon to confirm that the recurrent laryngeal nerve is working at the end of the case.

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How Successful Is Heart Ablation Surgery

Depending on the type of arrhythmia, success rates of cardiac ablation surgery for arrhythmia can be as high as 90%.

After cardiac ablation surgery for atrial fibrillation:

  • 40% of people have no recurrences of arrhythmia for at least 1 year.
  • 37% of people have no recurrences of arrhythmia for at least 2 years.
  • 29% of people have no recurrences of arrhythmia for at least 5 years.

Most people experience symptom relief and improved quality of life after surgery. If arrhythmia recurs, surgery may need to be repeated or other treatment options may be considered. Repeat procedures have a long-term success rate of 63%.

Thyroid Surgery Recovery Side Effects And Complications

If you are having thyroid surgery, known as a thyroidectomy, it’s important to know what to expect as you recover. Side effects of surgery are common and include neck pain, a sore throat, difficulty swallowing, hoarseness, and temporary hypoparathyroidism.

Complications are much less common and can include bleeding , permanent hypoparathyroidism , and damage to nerves that can lead to long-term hoarseness and vocal changes.

Taking time to learn about post-thyroidectomy recovery can prepare you to cope with any symptoms and to be alert to any problems.

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When Can Patients Resume Normal Activity After Thyroid Surgery

Depending on individual recovery after thyroid surgery, patients can go back to the normal activity within a few days but with certain limitations. Strenuous activity and lifting heavy weight should be avoided for a week. The neck muscles may feel stiff and there may be soreness present for a few days. It can be corrected by moving neck from side to side and rolling shoulder or following advice of physical therapists.

For most patients the recovery period after thyroid surgery ranges around one or 2 weeks. Driving is restricted for a week. Depending on the amount of thyroid tissue removed, the patient is put on thyroid hormone. The need for thyroid replacement, calcium and other nutritional supplements must be discussed with the doctor.

How Long Does It Take To Recover From Heart Ablation Surgery

Recovery After Thyroid Surgery
  • How Long Does It Take to Recover From Heart Ablation Surgery? Center
  • Recovery from heart ablation surgery typically takes about 1 week. Discomfort or soreness in the area where the catheter was inserted is normal, and you should be able to resume normal activities within a few days. However, you should avoid lifting heavy objects or strenuous workouts for at least 1-2 weeks.

    Remember to follow your doctors instructions regarding your medications, activities, and follow-up visits. If you experience unusual pain or swelling, excessive bleeding at the incision, or consistent heart irregularities, contact your doctor immediately.

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    Thyroid Surgery Recovery: Will I Have Any Physical Restrictions After My Surgery

    • In general, your activity level depends on the amount of discomfort you experience
    • Many patients have resumed golf or tennis within a week after the operation
    • Most patients are able to return to work within the first or second week of surgery, and you are able to drive as soon as your head can be turned comfortably
    • You should restrain from driving if you are taking narcotics for pain control for driver safety
    • You must see your local doctor one week after surgery and see your surgeon for a routine follow-up office visit two to three weeks after surgery
    • You need to call to make these appointments

    Is Thyroidectomy A Major Operation

    Though a thyroidectomy is an extensive procedure, the recovery time is typically very short. Plus, most patients report very little discomfort after surgery. Immediately after surgery, youll be able to function normally. And even though the incision site is in the front of the neck, youll be able to eat and talk.27 2014 .

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    Removing Your Thyroid Gland

    Thyroid surgery is done through an incision in the lower part of the front of your neck. It takes about 2 to 3 hours.

    During your surgery, your surgeon will examine your whole thyroid gland and remove the parts that have cancer. Theyll also check the lymph nodes next to your thyroid gland and remove any that have or might have cancer cells.

    • If half of your thyroid is removed, its called a lobectomy or hemi-thyroidectomy.
    • If your whole thyroid is removed, its called a total thyroidectomy.

    Your surgeon will talk with you before your surgery so you know what to expect.

    Nerve injuries

    There are 2 nerves very close to your thyroid gland that help your larynx work. These nerves are called the recurrent laryngeal nerve and the superior laryngeal nerve. They may be affected during your thyroid surgery.

    • Your recurrent laryngeal nerve goes behind your thyroid to your voice box. If your tumor is close to this nerve or this nerve is injured during your surgery, your vocal cords could be damaged. This can make your voice hoarse. Voice hoarseness is common after thyroid surgery and usually goes away with time.
    • Your superior laryngeal nerve helps you raise the volume and pitch of your voice. If this nerve gets weak or injured, the pitch and tone of your voice can be affected. This may make it hard for you to raise your voice or sing.


    What To Expect After Thyroid Surgery

    How Long Does It Take to Recover from Thyroid Surgery?

    After thyroid surgery, you will probably stay in hospital for one or two nights to recover from surgery. Your neck wound will be closed with stitches, adhesive strips or small clips.

    Your nursing team will talk to you about how to care for your surgical wound site once you go home to prevent it becoming infected. The surgeon may arrange blood tests to check on your recovery.

    Most people who have thyroid surgery will feel better within 12 weeks, but recovery may take longer for some people.

    For more on this, see What to expect after thyroid cancer.

    Learn more about:

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    How Is Parathyroidectomy Performed

    The surgery is performed under general anesthesia. A 2-4 inch surgical incision is made on the front of the neck, just below Adams apple along the neck crease line. The surgeon will look for the four parathyroid glands and remove the ones that are diseased. The location of the parathyroid is often unpredictable. All four of the glands may be removed in some cases. If all four of the glands need to be removed, a small piece of the healthy tissue from one of the glands is transplanted into the forearm muscle to help maintain the body’s calcium levels. If the gland cannot be transplanted, patients may require lifelong calcium supplementation.

    There are several less invasive surgical techniques for parathyroidectomy, which can be performed depending on the extent and location of the parathyroid disease. They cause less scarring, pain, and recovery time compared to traditional techniques. The surgical techniques include:

    Hoarseness And Voice Problems

    After surgery, your voice may be hoarse or whispery, and it may feel tiring to talk. This is very common and expected during the first week or two after surgery. While around 1 percent of people may have damage to the nerves supplying the vocal cords, around 5 percent to 10 percent of people will have temporary symptoms due to irritation of the nerves during surgery or inflammation around the nerves afterward.

    Symptoms usually improve in the first few weeks but may persist up to six months after surgery. While there is no specific treatment for transient hoarseness, it’s helpful for your loved ones to be aware of the problem so that you don’t feel the need to talk loudly or more often than is comfortable. If the nerve was injured, more severe symptoms may be noted after surgery.

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    Diet And Supplements After Your Thyroid Surgery

    When it comes to your diet, you shouldnt require any changes, but you might prefer softer foods during the first day or two of recovery if youre experiencing any difficulty with swallowing.

    If youve undergone a total thyroidectomy, we make sure to supply you with the necessary hormone replacement medications. We may also recommend certain supplements calcium, for example, because your calcium level may temporarily drop after the surgery.

    Care Of Your Incision

    What To Expect After Thyroid Surgery

    Your incision is covered with a waterproof protective dressing. You can shower as usual, but do not soak or scrub the dressing. After showering, pat dry. Often there will be a blood blister visible under the clear dressing. This is normal and no cause for alarm. Beginning five days after the operation, massage the scar for five minutes when you wake up, five minutes in the middle of the day, and another five minutes when you go to bed. There is good evidence that wound massage reduces pain and improves healing. Turn your head back and forth and roll your shoulders to reduce stiffness. Your dressing will be removed at your first post-operative visit. Most patients have sutures under the skin that dissolve by themselves. Replace the dressing with micropore tape and continue massage. Change the tape once a week. If you experience itching once the dressing is off, massage lotion into the scar. You might notice bruising around your incision. Your scar may become pink and hard, and your throat may feel tight. This hardening will peak at about 3-4 weeks, and will disappear over the next 3 to 4 months. You will also notice some numbness around the incision. This will gradually improve over time. You scar will continue to fade for 12 months. For best cosmetic results, keep it out of the sun.

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    What Is The Recovery Like After Thyroid Surgery

    • Immediately after surgery you will be sleepy for the first few hours
    • You will be nursed with the head and neck supported to reduce swelling and strain on the neck
    • Your nurse will show you how to do breathing and coughing exercises to reduce the risk of developing a chest infection
    • An IV line will provide fluid until you are able to drink
    • Most people recover reasonably quickly from thyroid surgery

    Purpose Of Thyroid Surgery

    The purpose of thyroid surgery is to eradicate cancer or reduce the symptoms and impact of a thyroid condition.

    Specific indications for thyroid surgery vary from surgeon to surgeon. That said, common ones include:

    • A thyroid nodule that is suspicious for cancer or found to be cancerous
    • A goiter or benign thyroid nodule that is large, increasing in size, and/or causing symptoms like discomfort or problems breathing or swallowing
    • Toxic nodule, toxic multinodular goiter, or Graves’ disease

    When thyroid surgery is being considered, various tests will be performed including a blood thyroid-stimulating hormone test and a blood calcium level. Thyroid ultrasound images and/or fine-needle aspiration biopsy reports will also be evaluated.

    With a diagnosis of thyroid cancer, imaging tests like a computed tomography scan of the chest are generally performed to determine if the cancer has spread.

    Since thyroid surgery may result in injury or trauma to the recurrent laryngeal nerve , some surgeons also perform a routine laryngoscopy to evaluate for any baseline vocal cord problems.

    Overall, these tests help the surgeon confirm the need for surgery and guide their surgical approach or technique.

    When thyroid surgery is scheduled, various pre-operative tests for medical and anesthesia clearance will need to be run.

    Such tests include:

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    How Long Does It Take To Recover From Thyroid Nodule Surgery


    Simply so, is thyroid surgery painful?

    Recovery. Most patients will be eating, drinking, and walking around the night of their surgery. Typically, there is not a lot of pain involved with thyroid and parathyroid surgery. Most patients only need acetaminophen for discomfort.

    Subsequently, question is, what happens to your body after your thyroid is removed? If your entire thyroid is removed, your body can’t make thyroid hormone and without replacement you’ll develop signs and symptoms of underactive thyroid . As a result, you’ll need to take a pill every day that contains the synthetic thyroid hormone levothyroxine .

    Thereof, is thyroid surgery a major surgery?

    As with every major surgery, thyroid surgery carries the risk of an adverse reaction to general anesthetic. Risks specific to thyroid surgery rarely occur. However, the two most common risks are: damage to the recurrent laryngeal nerves

    Can you eat after thyroid surgery?

    You can eat whatever you like after surgery. Try to eat healthy foods. You may find it hard to swallow at first. If so, it may be easier to drink liquids and eat soft foods such as pudding, Jello, mashed potatoes, apple sauce, or yogurt.

    Recovery From Partial Thyroidectomy

    Thyroidectomy scar

    Meeting with multiple surgeons results in potentially confusing the information regarding how long Id be out of commission. One surgeon told me that my down time would be 2 days . Another said a week. My surgeon said that if I had a full time job outside the home, I should take off two weeks and if I worked from home on my own time, a week would probably be okay. As an otherwise healthy human, I figured that Id land somewhere in the middle.

    Wrong. Two weeks is about right. I was pretty much useless during the first week. I could do a little bit here or there during the second week, but not much. I was back to full productivity during weeks three and four but I did need naps and was still unable to exercise. Unfortunately, I caught a horrible cold during week four and the coughing really irritated my surgical site. Do whatever it takes not to get sick for the first two months after surgery because it will set you back.

    Otherwise, my surgeon said people are back to normal pretty much at about the six week mark.

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    Does Your Voice Change After Thyroid Surgery

    One of the first side effects that almost all patients experience immediately after thyroid surgery is their voice changes because the nerves get swollen and irritated during the surgery. While they are healing, your voice could reflect a different sound until you recover. Your voice will sound hoarse in most cases, just like it does when the nerves are irritated with laryngitis.

    The voice changing is almost always temporary, but it could last beyond the standard 6-8 weeks for recovery. You will find these nerves take a longer time to heal and can last up to three to six months before your original voice starts to resurface when you speak. Any long-term voice changes are rare in these surgeries and are not a large difference in the voice.


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