A thyroidectomy entails the partial or total removal of your thyroid gland. There are a number of reasons why you may need this surgery, and of course, you are anxious. Let us give you an overview of thyroid surgery and what to expect before and after.
The medical name for the removal of either all or some of the thyroid gland is a thyroidectomy.
The thyroid gland is shaped like a butterfly and located at the base of the neck. Its purpose is to produce hormones which control every detail of our metabolism, like how fast our heart beats to the rate we burn calories.
How much of the thyroid is removed depends on the reason for surgery. If only part is removed, the thyroid may continue to work normally after surgery. If the whole thyroid gland needs to be removed, daily treatments of hormones will be needed to replace what is lost.
A thyroidectomy is performed due to a cancerous tumor, nodules on the thyroid, an enlargement, or hyperthyroidism which is the condition where too much hormone is produced.
Prior To Surgery
Your preoperative evaluation will consist of the following:
- You will have imaging and lab tests performed like an MRI, ultrasound, an EKG, or CT scan.
- Blood tests will determine hormone levels.
- There will be an examination of your vocal cords.
- You may be prescribed an antibiotic to prevent infection, especially if you have a weakened immune system.
Most patients are able to return home the next day and expect to rest and recover at home for about 2 weeks. Certain activities will be restricted for several weeks like heavy lifting and anything that could strain your neck.
You can shower after one day, but do not soak or try to clean the incision site for at least one week.
You might have some pain at the incision site, but it should improve within a few days. If you notice any swelling in your neck, call Coastal Ear, Nose & Throat.
You might notice some tingling in your fingers or near your mouth. This is due to calcium deficiency and Coastal Ear, Nose & Throat will provide some replacement medications.