Thyroid Surgery 101: What to Expect After the Surgery.
1.In general it is well tolerated.
2.However, there are some things that everyone can expect with any type of thyroid surgery.
3.You will experience some discomfort at the incision site as well as a raw or sore throat from the breathing tube that was inserted during surgery.
4. Pain in the back of the neck or stiffness of the neck muscles can result from the position of the neck during surgery.
5.Many patients will feel that there is something stuck in their throat or that they need to frequently clear their throat after surgery.
5. All of these are painful but expected symptoms following surgery.
6. Risk of bleeding is always possible right after the surgery.
7.Temporary hoarseness or difficulty swallowing can occur.
8.The nerve that controls your vocal cord movements may have sustained “surgical trauma” ( Surgeons speech for cut recurrent nerve), resulting in paralysis of one or more vocal cords.
9.If the injury is mild, the nerve will recover with time and your voice will return to normal. If the injury is more severe, the paralysis may be permanent. Permanent paralysis may result in permanent hoarseness of the voice, and some may feel more short of breath if trying to speak to quickly.
10.While some minimal swelling, puffiness, or bruising at the incision is normal, rapid, sudden swelling of the neck that feels tight and affects your ability to breath and swallow is an emergency and requires immediate medical attention.
11.The parathyroid glands, which help the body regulate calcium levels, are next to the thyroid gland.
12.They can be damaged during thyroid surgery and temporarily or permanently stop functioning, leading to low calcium.
13.Signs of low calcium include numbness and tingling around the mouth or in the fingertips/fingers/hands.
14.Very low calcium levels can lead to muscle spasms of the hands, face, or legs.
15.The parathyroid glands usually return to normal functioning within a few weeks or months.
16.Parathyroid glands that do not return to normal function, will need to take lifetime calcium and vitamin D supplements on a long-term basis.
17. This is a new disease you inherited from the surgery called surgical hypoparathyroidism.
18.This occurs all to frequently with low volume thyroid surgeons >25 cases a year.
Quiz your surgeon and if he does not measure up get another opinion.
Call me for a pre-op thyroid surgery opinion.
It can save you all the pain, suffering and expense if you are found to not need the surgery and can be treated with alternative outpatient methods.
Approximately 6 weeks following surgery, your doctor should request a blood test to evaluate your thyroid hormone level. If your thyroid hormone level is high (above the normal range), your doctor should prescribe thyroid hormone. This pill should be taken on an empty stomach with a glass of water. For most people, this is first thing they take in the morning upon awakening. Another alternative is to take the medication at bedtime. Do not have anything to eat or drink, including black coffee, for one hour. It is also important to avoid taking calcium, iron, fiber, or multivitamins within 4 hours of taking your thyroid hormone.