What to expect following Thyroidectomy

Thyroidectomy is performed under general anesthesia either as an out patient or overnight stay in the hospital. Complete thyroidectomy, or single sided thyroid lobectomy may be performed for many reasons including thyroid cancer, enlarged benign nodules, swallowing and/or respiratory difficulty due to enlarged gland (goiter), chronic inflammation and autoimmune disease (Graves disease).

A 4- 6cm incision in a natural skin crease in the neck is utilized and surgery takes approximately 2-4 hours. Post operatively a drain may be placed which is usually removed the first or second day following surgery. Sutures are removed on or around day 7. Pain medications and antibiotics are utilized for up to one week following and the patient should take 7-10 days off work depending on the type of work they do. No heavy lifting, driving and/or air travel are advised for at least two weeks following surgery.

If the entire gland has been removed replacement hormone is started in the month following surgery and is coordinated with your medical doctor or endocrinologist.

Risks of surgery include but are not limited to infection, bleeding, vocal cord paralysis and hoarseness, need for further surgery, and tracheostomy tube placement (all less than 0.001%).

If you have further questions please do not hesitate to contact our office to speak to a member of our staff.