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Thyroid Gland Removal Surgery - What To Expect?

Reviewed by
Dr. Aasim Anees Hussain 92% (15 ratings)
M.S, General Surgery, Bachelor of Medicine Bachelor of Surgery (M.B.B.S.), Medicine, Fellowship In Minimal Access Surgery, Fellowship In Laparoscopic & Robotic Onco-Surgery, FIAGES, Fellow in MInimally invasive HPB surgery
General Surgeon, Chennai  •  10 years experience
Thyroid Gland Removal Surgery - What To Expect?

Have you undergone a thyroid removal surgery recently or planning to go for one, then you should know some important things that should be kept in mind. After undergoing the surgery, it is essential that you should allow your body some time to recover. Your health care provider will educate you regarding the activities and exercises that can help in recovering from the surgery faster. It is worthy of mention here that the recovery process is dependent on the extent and type of surgery you have undergone. It would generally take a longer time to recover from traditional surgery than minimally invasive procedure.

What to do right after the surgery?
In the days following the surgery, you are required to take care of the incision area. You may or not be allowed to take a bath depending on the dressing on the wound. You are likely to experience slight swelling around the scar. Even though this is normal, you should report to your doctor without further delay. The scar may start feeling hard three weeks after the surgery, and you may apply an unscented moisturizer to prevent dryness while healing.

When to start daily activities after the thyroid gland removal surgery?
You are free to resume most of the normal activities the day following the surgery. But you should wait for at least 10 days or until your doctor allows you to engage in physically strenuous activities. Your throat is likely to feel sore for a couple of days. You can also take an over-the-counter pain medicine like acetaminophen or ibuprofen for relieving soreness. In case these drugs are not offering desired relief, your doctor may prescribe you to take narcotic pain medicine. It is a common outcome of the thyroid removal surgery to develop hypothyroidism. In case this happens to you, your doctor may recommend you to take some form of levothyroxine for bringing down the hormone levels.

Is there any physical restriction after the thyroid removal surgery?
Most surgeons recommend that patients should limit all sorts of physically strenuous works after the thyroid removal surgery. This is recommended for reducing the risk of postoperative neck hematoma and breaking open of the wound closure. These limitations are temporary and brief and are generally followed by a quick transition to unrestricted activity. You are free to take part in heavy lifting or swimming or other exercises two to three weeks after the surgery.

Is it possible to lead a normal life after the thyroid removal surgery?
Once you have recovered from the effects of thyroid surgery, you can do anything you feel like. Post-surgery your thyroid levels will be monitored through regular follow-ups. If the surgery were carried out for thyroid cancer, your doctor would also check for recurrence of cancer during your visits. It is essential to stick to this schedule and report if you notice any suspicious changes or experience discomfort so that proper care can be given and you can lead a normal life.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult a specialist & get answers to your questions!
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