Thyroid removal surgery; What to expect

The Thyroid is a small gland that is located in the lower front part of the neck and it is just below the voice box. The gland usually produces a hormone that helps regulate metabolism in the body. If the Gland produces more hormone than necessary or starts swelling and growing cysts, it might need to be removed. Thyroidectomy is the surgery where the entire gland is removed while in lobectomy only one of the lobes of the thyroid is removed. Depending on how serious the problem is the tissue surrounding the gland might be removed as well.

What to expect before the surgery

Before the surgery, your surgeon might order several tests including a CT scan, ultrasound and a fine needle aspiration just so that they can get a clear picture of how the gland is before they can proceed to removing the gland. You will also be instructed to stop taking any medications that might make it harder for the blood to clot probably about a week before surgery. You will also be asked not to eat or drink anything the night before surgery. If you are a smoker you will be requested to stop smoking about a month before surgery. All these instructions are to make sure that you are in good shape to undergo general anesthesia.

The surgery

The thyroid removal surgery can either be inpatient or outpatient it all depends on the surgeon. The entire procedure can be 45 minutes long or sometimes 3 hours. During surgery a 2 inch incision is made at the crease at the front of the neck. The location of the incision is so that the scars can be concealed once it heals. After removal the surgeon will use stitches to close up the incision.

After surgery

In most cases thyroid surgery usually takes place without a problem. You might experience some pain in the neck area, but you will be given some pain medications to ease the pain. You might also have a hoarse voice and experience sore throat, but they go away after a few days. You will be given instructions on how to handle the bandages and any other dressings. Depending on how well the surgery went, you might be required to spend the night at the hospital just so that the doctors can monitor you.

If the entire thyroid gland is removed, you might be prescribed some medicine to replace the thyroid hormones. However, if only a part of the gland was removed you might not even need the medication. To ensure that the thyroid removal surgery goes well, make sure you find a surgeon with the skills, experience and resources to handle it.

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