After Thyroid Surgery
If have undergone or plan to undergo thyroid surgery, it is essential that you follow the post thyroid surgery guidelines that your doctor has set out for you. This will ensure decreased risk for thyroidectomy complications and will improve your chances of a more successful recovery.
Post operative care after thyroid surgery will depend on your individual circumstances. In general, you should feel a sense of improvement each day after you undergo the procedure. If questions arise during your convalescence period, do not hesitate to contact your doctor. You will also be asked to arrange a follow up appointment a few weeks after the procedure so that your specialist can assess your progress.
Since an incision will have been made in your neck, you will be advised not to scrub or soak the area when bathing. You may notice a bit of swelling around the scar. Sometimes, slight bruising occurs as well. It is also important to be prepared for the possibility that the scar may become pink in color, may harden and become tight a few weeks after the procedure. These issues should resolve in a few months time.
Thyroid hormone replacement after thyroid surgery
Individuals who undergo thyroid surgery are often placed on thyroid hormone replacement medications. Since all or a portion of the thyroid gland will be removed, your body will still need to maintain the proper thyroid hormones levels. To do this, thyroid hormone replacement medications are essential. To ensure optimum function, make sure that you take your medications as advised by your doctor.
If you experience pain after surgery, it is important to only take the pain medications prescribed by your doctor. Fortunately, most patients do not experience a great amount of pain following the procedure, although discomfort when swallowing is common in the following days after surgery. If pain persists or worsens, discuss pain management options with your doctor, and keep your doctor updated with any progress.
Care after thyroid surgery
Your thyroid replacement may begin immediately after your surgery or it may be started several weeks later, depending upon the condition that made the surgery necessary. Once the hormone replacement is started, it will need to be closely monitored to prevent the symptoms of hyper or hypothyroidism. The level of calcium and vitamin D in your blood may also be monitored. In some cases, a daily supplement will be necessary every day. This is especially true if the parathyroid glands were involved in the procedure.
Once you have recovered from the effects of thyroid surgery, you usually will be able to doing anything that you could do prior to surgery. Possible risks from thyroid surgery include bleeding that can cause acute breathing difficulty, injury to the recurrent laryngeal nerve that can cause hoarseness, and damage to the parathyroid glands that control calcium levels in the body, causing hypoparathyroidism and hypocalcemia. The overall risk of complications should be less than 2% with an experienced surgeon.
If you have any questions about thyroid or parathyroid surgery, you should speak to your local doctor, who will arrange to contact your thyroid surgeon.