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What Happens To Your Body After Your Thyroid Is Removed

Caring For Your Incision

Life After a Thyroid Removal

Your surgeon will talk to you about whether you should continue to wear a dressing over your incision. Depending on the surgeon, you may have stitches that will need to be removed or absorbable sutures that will not. If steri-strips were applied, these will usually stay in place for around a week. Most surgeons recommend leaving these alone until they fall off by themselves, rather than trying to remove them.

You will probably be able to shower, but should try to keep your neck as dry as possible. You should not submerge, soak, or scrub your incision, and bathing in a tub should be avoided until you see your surgeon. After showering, you can lightly pat your neck dry or use a hair dryer set on the “cool” setting.

Your incision may appear red and hard at first,;and you may notice some slight swelling and bruising around the scar. If you experience itching, applying scar gel or aloe may provide relief, but talk to your surgeon before doing so. The hardening typically peaks about three weeks after surgery and then subsides over the next two to three months.

In time, your incision will turn pink and then white, and most are completely healed in six to nine months.

What Are The Different Kinds Of Thyroid Medication

To combat hypothyroidism, you must take a daily thyroid hormone replacement medication. Thyroid medication typically works by increasing circulatingÂ;thyroxine Â;levels. T4 is responsible for regulating your weight, heart rate, temperature, muscle strength, and overall energy and mood. Levothyroxine provides synthetic T4 to replenish low thyroid hormone levels.Â;

There are also thyroid medications that increaseÂ;triiodothyronine , the other primary hormone produced by the thyroid gland. Examples of T3 drugs include Cytomel and Triostat.Â;

There are also combination T4/T3 formulations that come in a single pill. In the United States, these come as natural desiccated thyroid . While every person is unique in what will work best for them, synthetic T4 is usually the standard treatment method for hypothyroidism.

What To Expect At Home

You may have a drain with a bulb coming from your incision. This drain removes any blood or other fluids that might build up in this area.

You may have some pain and soreness in your neck at first, especially when you swallow. Your voice may be a little hoarse for the first week. You will probably be able to start your everyday activities in just a few weeks.

If you had thyroid cancer, you may need to have radioactive iodine treatment soon.

Get plenty of rest when you get home. Keep your head raised while you are sleeping for the first week.

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Waking Up Without A Thyroid

After my second surgery at the Carol G. Simon Cancer Center in Morristown, my thyroid was gone, and I was put on a very high dose of Synthroid. The drug is thyroid replacement hormone,” says Dr. Whitman. It does two things: It recreates the function of a thyroid and suppresses thyroid-stimulating hormone , so cancer cells are less likely to develop.

It’s just a tiny blue pill, but this synthetic hormone was no picnic. My TSH levels drastically changed, and that meant all the body processes that the thyroid usually controls were out of whack. My body temperature was always shifting; I felt hot when it wasn’t hot out and chilly when it wasn’t cold. I had anxiety and felt very down, very blue. I was constantly drained.

Even though my diet did not change, I started to gain weight, and my fatigue made it difficult to exercise. I toughed it out and prepped for the next phase of treatment: radioactive iodine treatment in pill form. That meant being;quarantined in my apartment for four;days so I couldnt contaminate Jack and my dog, Lucy. For the first 24 hours, my eyes, neck, and head hurtand I dry-heaved. I couldn’t eat for at least 48 hours, so I stuck to ice chips, water, and diet ginger ale.

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What Type Of Thyroid Surgery Am I A Candidate For

Thyroid Cancer Can Lead to Hypertension

Conventional thyroid surgery is done through an incision in the front of the neck. The size of the incision depends on factors such as how large your thyroid is and whether the surgeon needs to remove lymph nodes.

If your thyroid isnt very large, and no lymph nodes are involved, you may be a candidate for minimal-access surgery. Said Roman, We use a small incision, which minimizes the scar. The incision is directly over the thyroid, making it easy for the surgeon to access the gland.

Another approach is robot-assisted surgery. The surgeon controls a robotic system that directs the movements of small instruments inserted into an incision under your arm. Using the systems high-definition 3-D vision technology, the surgeon guides the instruments under your skin to your thyroid, avoiding a neck scar. Duke endocrine surgeon Dr.;Michael Stang, MD, has extensive experience with this technique. Some patients are candidates for this procedure, as long as the thyroid isnt too big, said Stang. However, if its thyroid cancer and its too advanced or has spread beyond the thyroid, then a conventional surgical approach is best.

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Questions To Ask Your Doctor Before Thyroid Surgery

Duke doctors perform thyroid surgery on a patient at Duke Raleigh Hospital.

Your doctor may recommend surgery to remove part or all of your thyroid gland if its overactive, has grown very large, or has nodules, cysts or other growths that areor could becancerous. Here are essential questions to ask before you schedule thyroid surgery.

Learn more about thyroid cancer treatment at Duke.

What Happens When You Stop Taking Thyroid Medication

If you stop taking your thyroid medication, you can expect your hypothyroid symptoms to return. Typically, the longer you go without your medication, and the more severe your thyroid disease is, the higher your risk for severe and even life-threatening conditions.Â;

In the immediate period, after stopping your thyroid medication, you may begin to feel tired and sluggish and haveÂ;a low mood. The longer you go without a prescription, the more intense your symptoms are likely to become. Not taking your thyroid medication could also worsen other health conditions you may have, including sleep apnea, depression, and type 2 diabetes.Â;

People with moderate to severe hypothyroidism who stop taking their medication are at risk for extreme health events, including a myxedema crisis. Although very rare, aÂ;myxedema crisisÂ;is a life-threatening complication of hypothyroidism. Typically, this condition arises when someone already has uncontrolled hypothyroidism, and a precipitating event occurs, like infection orÂ;pregnancy.Â;

In myxedema crisis, people can experience swelling all over the body, including the face, tongue, lips, and limbs. It also is accompanied by a thickening of the skin. A myxedema crisis may also cause other complications, including:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Seizures
  • ComaÂ;Â;
Get personalized guidance to avoid complications from not taking thyroid medication:

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Hypocalcaemia After Total Thyroidectomy Tingling And Numbness Of Fingers And Toes

In up to 50% of patients who have a total thyroidectomy, the parathyroid glands do not function properly immediately. This is usually temporary and causes the blood calcium level to drop below normal . Symptoms of hypocalcaemia include numbness and tingling in your hands, soles of your feet and around your lips, and can become quite unpleasant. Some patients experience a “crawling” sensation in the skin, muscle cramps or headaches. These symptoms appear between 24 and 48 hours after surgery. It is rare for them to appear after 72 hours. Low blood calcium does not occur if only half the thyroid is removed.

Hypocalcaemia is treated with calcium tablets. If you are having a total thyroidectomy, I will check your parathyroid hormone before you leave hospital. If it is low, I will send you home with calcium and calcitriol , which will usually be temporary. If you develop tingling in the fingertips, toes, or lips, your calcium maybe low. Take two extra caltrate tablets The symptoms of tingling/numbness should improve within 30-45 minutes of taking the tablets. If the symptoms persist, you should take two more tablets and wait another 45 minutes. If they still persist after 3 extra doses, call my office in working hours, or after hours report to your nearest emergency room to have your blood calcium checked.

What Is The Recovery Time For A Thyroidectomy

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Most people take 1 to 2 weeks off to recover. You should not drive for at least a week. There are no other restrictions. Depending on the amount of thyroid tissue that was removed and the reason for your surgery, you may be placed on thyroid hormone .

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Foods Containing Vitamin C

As you recover from surgery, eating a nutritious diet containing a wide variety of foods will aid your body in healing. In particular, vitamin C is necessary for healing wounds and forming scar tissue. Since vitamin C is water soluble, your body requires a continuous supply of foods containing this nutrient. Fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C include strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, sweet bell peppers, and orange and tomato juices.

What Happens To Your Body After Your Thyroid Is Removed

October 31, 2020 By Joey Harper

The thyroid gland in our body is always compared to the shape of a butterfly. The thyroid gland is present on necks lower front part, and it can be located below your voice box.

The gland is essential and plays a significant role in producing and secreting hormones required by our body. Thyroid hormones regulate our metabolism.

Contents

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Days Before Your Surgery

Follow your healthcare providers instructions for taking aspirin

If you take aspirin or a medication that contains aspirin, you may need to change your dose or stop taking it 7 days before your surgery. Aspirin can cause bleeding.

Follow your healthcare providers instructions. Dont stop taking aspirin unless they tell you to. For more information, read the resource Common Medications Containing Aspirin, Other Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs , or Vitamin E.

Stop taking vitamin E, multivitamins, herbal remedies, and other dietary supplements

Stop taking vitamin E, multivitamins, herbal remedies, and other dietary supplements 7 days before your surgery. These things can cause bleeding. For more information, read the resource Herbal Remedies and Cancer Treatment.

When To Call Your Healthcare Provider

Thyroid Problem
  • You have a fever of 100.5 °F or higher.
  • You have drainage from your incision.
  • You have trouble breathing.
  • The skin around your incision is warmer than usual.
  • You have more discomfort in the area around your incision than usual.
  • The area around your incision is more red than usual.
  • You have new or increased swelling around your incision.
  • You have numbness, twitching, or tingling around your mouth, fingertips, or toes.
  • You have any questions or concerns.

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No Thyroid Should Be Considered As A Variant Of Hypothyroidism

This is a small but important point!

If you don’t have a thyroid then all of the information you read online or hear about hypothyroidism will generally still apply to you!

I get questions on a daily basis asking if my articles apply to them if they don’t have a thyroid and the answer is almost always yes or at least 95% of the information is still relevant to you.;

Consider this example:

If you don’t have a thyroid then you MUST take thyroid medication.;

Most patients also take thyroid medication.;

If you have a thyroid gland in your body, and you are taking thyroid medication, then your body will naturally suppress the function of your thyroid gland.;

So, the two conditions are still very similar.;

The main difference is that those who do have a thyroid gland still produce SOME amount of thyroid hormone so they do have an advantage over people without a thyroid gland.;

Whether you make your own thyroid hormone or if you get it from medication, your body still must convert T4 into T3 and if you don’t do this then you may experience certain symptoms.;

Here Are Steps I Recommend Taking If You Had Your Thyroid Removed Or Ablated:

1. Support your adrenals this is probably the most important step you can take because adrenal imbalance can cause a wide variety of different symptoms such as:

A tendency to be a night personHair lossWaking up in the middle of the night with difficulty falling back asleepA slow starter in the morningFeeling keyed up and having trouble calming downLow blood pressureHeadaches after exercisingClenching or grinding your teethChronic low- or middle-back painDifficulty maintaining chiropractic adjustmentsPain on the medial side of the knee or kneesNeeding to wear sunglassesDizziness when you stand upDifficulty losing weightGaining weight around the waistlineGetting upset or angry easily

to learn 20 steps you can start taking today. I also have a free class about how to use essential oils to support your adrenals.

2. Eat a nutrient dense diet the foods you eat are a big factor in the health of the entire body. The right foods can help support your endocrine system, balance blood sugar, reduce digestive issues, and so much more. to read about the diet I recommend.;

3. Keep an eye on your TSH levels TSH is a hormone that the pituitary sends out to tell the thyroid how much or how little thyroid hormones to produce. Some of this is dependent on the levels of fT4 in the body, but not always. In general, TSH levels tell you what your pituitary is up to, but its not telling you what the thyroid is doing.;

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Within 30 Days Of Your Surgery

Presurgical Testing

Before your surgery, youll have an appointment for presurgical testing . The date, time, and location will be printed on the appointment reminder from your surgeons office. Its helpful to bring the following things to your PST appointment:

  • A list of all the medications youre taking, including prescription and over-the-counter medications, patches, and creams.
  • Results of any tests done outside of MSK, such as a cardiac stress test, echocardiogram, or carotid doppler study.
  • The name and telephone number of your healthcare provider.

You can eat and take your usual medications the day of your appointment.

During your PST appointment, youll meet with a nurse practitioner . They work closely with anesthesiology staff . Your NP will review your medical and surgical history with you. You may have tests, such as an electrocardiogram to check your heart rhythm, a chest x-ray, blood tests, and any other tests needed to plan your care. Your NP may also recommend that you see other healthcare providers.

Your NP will talk with you about which medications you should take the morning of your surgery.

Identify your caregiver

Your caregiver plays an important role in your care. Before your surgery, you and your caregiver will learn about your surgery from your healthcare providers. After your surgery, your caregiver will take you home when youre discharged from the hospital. Theyll also help you care for yourself at home.

For caregivers

Exercise

Neck Pain And Stiffness

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The neck is put in an extended position during surgery, and many people avoid moving their necks afterward. This can lead to neck pain and stiffness. Using pain medication after surgery may reduce discomfort, making it easier for you to keep moving your neck so that you have less stiffness later on. Applying a warm compress may also help.

Many surgeons recommend doing gentle stretching and range-of-motion exercises, such as the following, to reduce stiffness. Before doing these, however, make sure to ask your surgeon about their appropriateness for you, any additional exercises she believes might be helpful, how often you should perform them, and whether there are any exercises you should avoid.

  • Gently turn your head to the right, then roll your head so that you are looking at the floor, then gently roll your head to the left.
  • Gently tilt your head to the right and then to the left.
  • Rotate both shoulders forward in a circular motion.
  • Slowly raise your arms overhead, and then slowly lower them back down against your body.

Suggested frequency: 10 repetitions, three times day

Most often, neck stiffness lasts for only a few days to a few weeks after surgery. If yours does not, talk to your surgeon about seeing a specialist in physical medicine and rehabilitation or a physical therapist who can work with you to improve the flexibility of your neck and design an exercise program to restore your neck mobility to normal.

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Effects Of Skipping Antithyroid Medication

If you have Graves’ disease, toxic nodules, thyroiditis, or another cause of hyperthyroidism, you may need to take antithyroid medication such as methimazole or propylthiouracil/PTU. If you skip or completely discontinue your medicine, you can experience a number of short-term and long-term consequences, including:

  • Debilitating weight loss
  • Dramatically increased appetite and thirst
  • Nervousness, anxiety, panic attacks
  • Rapid pulse, heart palpitations, or high blood pressure
  • Itching
  • Hair loss
  • Protruding eyes

Untreated hyperthyroidism can increase your risk of stroke or heart attack. It can also increase the risk of developing a dangerous condition known as;thyroid storm, which has a high fatality rate.

When To Notify Our Office

You should call our office at 410-328-6187 if you experience the following symptoms:

  • Fever with a temperature higher than 101.5.
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Increase in pain at the incision that is not relieved by pain medication
  • Increased swelling, redness, or drainage from the incision
  • Numbness or tingling of fingers, toes, or around the mouth.
  • Muscle cramps

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