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What To Expect After Thyroid Removal

An Important Word About The Costs Of Treatment

What to Expect After Thyroid Surgery – James Wu, MD

Insurance rebates have not kept pace with the cost of running a medical practice. As a consequence, there will be a gap to pay for the surgical fee and for the anaesthetist. Your insurance company might also charge you an excess for a hospital admission. We will advise you about expected out-of-pocket costs not covered by insurance. If these costs represent an undue hardship for you, please discuss them with us.

What Are Types Of Thyroid Removal Surgery

Removal of the thyroid gland may be partial or total.

Types of thyroid removal surgeries include:

  • Hemi-thyroidectomy or thyroid lobectomy: one lobe of the thyroid is removed
  • Isthmusectomy: removal of just the bridge of thyroid tissue between the two lobes
  • Performed only for small tumors located in the isthmus
  • Total or near-total thyroidectomy: removal of all or most of the thyroid tissue
  • Open thyroid biopsy : a nodule is removed directly
  • Drop In The Thyroid Hormone Levels On Removal Of Thyroid

    One more side effect of thyroid removal surgery, especially if you have had your whole thyroid removed is that you will have a drop in your thyroid hormone level and you will have to go for thyroid hormone replacement therapy. You might have to take thyroxine tablets so as to replace the thyroid hormones that your thyroid gland would normally prepare. It is essential for the body to have thyroid hormones so as to keep the body processes going on at the right rate or so as to continue the process of bodys metabolism. With these hormones you feel tired and lack energy. So thyroxine tablets may be prescribed at times by your doctor after the thyroid removal procedure. At times, it may be possible that you might need to take these tablets even if you had only a part of your thyroid removed.

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    Who Should Go Through Thyroidectomy

    Thyroidectomy is a surgical solution to treat thyroid disorders. Moreover, For example, Thyroid Cancer, Goiter, Hypothyroidism , Hyperthyroidism , and Thyroid nodules. If any person is suffering from any of these health issues, then Thyroidectomy is the perfect treatment for such disorders.

    The removal of thyroid glands depend upon the problems you are facing? If it’s treatable by removing a partial gland, then you will do OK, but if the whole gland is removed, then you have to replace your thyroid hormones to regulate metabolic rate effectively. On the other hand, Doctors ensures that its common to gain weight up to 20-30 pounds after Thyroidectomy.

    A Change In Thyroid Hormones

    After thyroid surgery

    If your whole thyroid gland has been removed, you will need to take tablets to replace the hormones that your thyroid would normally make. The thyroid hormones are necessary to keep your body processes going at the right rate. This is called your metabolism. Without thyroid hormones, you feel extremely tired and lacking in energy.

    A tablet called thyroxine replaces the hormones. You take this tablet every day for the rest of your life. You have regular blood tests to check the hormone levels in your blood. Your doctor may change the dose of your tablet if your hormone levels are too high or too low.

    If you have had part of your thyroid gland removed, the remaining gland usually makes all the hormone you need. But some people might need to take thyroxine tablets. You have blood tests to check for this.

    These hormone tablets may help to stop the cancer from coming back in follicular and papillary thyroid cancer. They stop your body from producing another hormone called thyroid stimulating hormone . TSH can help these types of thyroid cancer cells to grow.

    Taking thyroxine every day won’t stop you from doing the daily activities you were doing before your surgery.

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    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.

    Thyroid Surgery Frequently Asked Questions

    How long will I be hospitalized?

    Most patients come to the hospital on the morning of their surgery and the majority of patients go home the same day after a 4 hour observation period in the recovery room.

    What type of anesthesia will I have?

    Patients will receive general anesthesia. With this type of anesthesia, you are completely asleep during the operation, and you will have a breathing tube placed temporarily to protect your airway and lungs.

    Will I have a scar?

    Yes. All surgery causes scarring, and how the patient heals the scar is very much dependent on the individual. However, there are some techniques that surgeons use to minimize scarring. These techniques include: a smaller incision size, careful incision placement, and using hypoallergenic suture material to avoid inflammation. Columbia Thyroid Center surgeons make every effort to place the incision in a natural skin line which acts like camouflage. The incision will blend into the skin line and once the redness fades away it is essentially invisible. As a general rule, you should not have a noticeable scar after six months. See Scar Gallery ».

    Will I have pain after the operation?

    When will I know the findings from the surgery?

    During the operation, your surgeon may consult with the pathologist who will provide a preliminary diagnosis. However, the final pathology report requires careful study of your tissue specimen. Therefore, the final report is usually not available until about 1 week after the operation.

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    What Happens During The Procedure

    The surgeon will make a cut in the front of the neck, 2cm to 3cm above the collar bone. They will divide the muscles so they can reach the thyroid gland.

    They will be very careful not to damage the vocal cords or the parathyroid glands that sit behind the thyroid. These glands control the bodys calcium levels.

    The surgeon removes the thyroid gland. The muscles are then put together and the wound is stitched to close it up.

    How Is Thyroid Surgery Performed

    What to Expect After Thyroid Surgery from Mount Sinai in New York

    Thyroid surgery takes place in a hospital. Its important not to eat or drink anything after midnight before your surgery.

    When you arrive at the hospital, youll check in and then go to a preparation area where youll remove your clothes and put on a hospital gown. A nurse will insert an IV in your wrist or your arm to administer fluids and medication.

    Before surgery, youll meet with your surgeon. Theyll do a quick examination and answer any questions you may have about the procedure. Youll also meet with the anesthesiologist who will be administering the medicine that makes you sleep throughout the procedure.

    When its time for surgery, youll enter the operating room on a gurney. The anesthesiologist will inject medicine into your IV. The medicine may feel cold or sting as it enters your body, but it will quickly put you into a deep sleep.

    The surgeon will make an incision over the thyroid gland and carefully remove all or part of the gland. Because the thyroid is small and surrounded by nerves and glands, the procedure may take 2 hours or more.

    Youll wake up in the recovery room, where the staff will make sure youre comfortable. Theyll check your vital signs and administer pain medication as needed. When youre in stable condition, theyll transfer you to a room where youll remain under observation for 24 to 48 hours.

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    Hypocalcemia And Bone Health

    Your bones have been starved of calcium during the time you have had hyperparathyroidism, and will now have the chance to grow strong again. After successful parathyroid surgery, I recommend plenty of dietary calcium. If you do not take at least three daily servings of calcium-rich foods, you may prefer to take Caltrate Plus twice a day to promote healthy bones. In addition to these supplements, an exercise routine using weights is also recommended. Your vitamin D should be kept > 75 to enable your intestine to absorb the calcium in your diet.

    In a small number of patients who have parathyroid surgery, the remaining parathyroid glands have become lazy, and do not function properly immediately after surgery. It is very rare after the mini-surgery, but about 5% if you need both sides of the neck explored. 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. 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.

    Essential Tips To Cope Up With The Side Effects Of Thyroid Removal:

    Here in this section we will talk about some of the tips so as to help you cope up with the side effects of thyroid removal procedures

    • We discussed earlier that after your thyroid removal surgery, you may have difficulty in swallowing. It is essential for you to rely of soft and healthy foods.
    • You can use more sauces and gravies, or the more of the moist foods after the surgery which would be easier to swallow as compared to the dry foods.
    • Go for long and slow cooking so as to soften the meat and vegetables you prepare for your diet.
    • Chop the vegetables or meat finely before or after cooking.
    • Apart from this, take healthy and nutritious diet so as to help self with healing. Talk to a dietician for your appropriate diet after the thyroid removal.
    • Using Aloe vera, Bio-oil to soften the skin around the wound and prevent dryness while its healing period can be beneficial.
    • You can also use non scented moisturising cream to your scar once your wound is healed.
    • Talk to your doctor and take prescribed medications in case you have high fever, swollen or painful neck and also in case of infection.

    Written, Edited or Reviewed By:Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc.This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimerLast Modified On: April 6, 2018

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    What Are The Side Effects Of Removing Your Thyroid

    Some patients become hypothyroid following thyroid surgery, particularly when the entire thyroid gland is removed. This requires lifelong treatment with thyroid hormone replacement therapy.

    Other side effects of thyroid removal surgery that may require patients to be re-hospitalized include:

    • Tingling in the fingers that can progress to tremors
    • Spasms in all muscles of the body, including the heart and muscles surrounding the lungs
    • Low calcium levels

    Days Before Your Surgery

    What to Expect Before and After Thyroid Surgery â Rodrigo ...

    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.

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    Why Is A Thyroidectomy Performed

    The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in a persons neck, just below the Adams apple. It produces the hormone thyroxine which controls the bodys metabolism .

    Someone might need part or all of their thyroid gland removed if:

    • they have an enlarged thyroid that makes it difficult to swallow or breathe
    • they have an overactive thyroid

    The removal of part of the thyroid gland is called a partial thyroidectomy or hemithyroidectomy and the removal of the entire gland is called a total thyroidectomy.

    If someone has a total thyroidectomy, they will need to take thyroxine tablets for the rest of their life. Some people also need to take thyroxine tablets after a partial thyroidectomy. It depends on how much of the thyroid gland is removed.

    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.

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    Wound Infection May Be A Possibility On Removal Of Thyroid

    Though unusual in most cases, yet there may be wound infection after the thyroid removal surgery. It is essential to prevent any infection once you are at home after the surgery. Below are some of the things you need to keep a note after the surgery so as to prevent self from wound infection.

    • Leave you dressings in place unless your doctor tells to remove them
    • Keep your neck wound clean and dry till it gets totally healed.
    • Do not go swimming till your wound is healed completely
    • Do not put pressure on the wound.

    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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    Day Before Your Surgery

    Note the time of your surgery

    A staff member from the Admitting Office will call you after 2:00 pm the day before your surgery. If your surgery is scheduled for a Monday, theyll call you on the Friday before. If you dont get a call by 7:00 pm, call .

    The staff member will tell you what time to arrive at the hospital for your surgery. Theyll also remind you where to go.

    This will be one of the following locations:

    • Josie Robertson Surgery Center

    Instructions for eating before your surgery

    Do not eat anything after midnight the night before your surgery. This includes hard candy and gum.

    What To Expect After Thyroid Removal

      Thyroid removalor thyroidectomyis surgery to take out the thyroid gland. Your recovery after thyroid removal will vary depending on your diagnosis and the type of surgery, but most people soon return to a normal, active life. Here is what to expect after thyroid removal and how to make your recovery a success.

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      Keeping Health Insurance And Copies Of Your Medical Records

      Even after treatment, its very important to keep health insurance. Tests and doctor visits cost a lot, and even though no one wants to think of their cancer coming back, this could happen.

      At some point after your cancer treatment, you might find yourself seeing a new doctor who doesnt know about your medical history. Its important to keep copies of your medical records to give your new doctor the details of your diagnosis and treatment. Learn more in Keeping Copies of Important Medical Records.


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