Recovering From Thyroid Surgery
Thyroid surgery is usually only necessary when you suffer from hyperthyroidism, i.e., the thyroid gland produces too much hormone, and your are unable to take medications or are not responding to any. Sometimes, surgery may be necessary if a benign nodule develops or if you are suspected of having cancer. Sometimes, it is not advisable for pregnant women to take certain medications to treat thyroid related problems and this may also necessitate thyroid surgery.
The Surgical Procedure and Recovery
- The procedure: There are different kinds of surgery that can be performed but whatever the type, some part of or the full thyroid gland itself may be removed. The various types include: a biopsy, which only requires removal of a small sample for further examination; lumpectomy, lobectomy, subtotal thyroidectomy and total thyroidectomy, all of which involve removing a significant portion of your thyroid gland. The procedure may be traditional or a video- and/or robot-assisted and minimally invasive. Depending on the extent, you may require hospitalization for a couple of days. During the surgery, you will require a breathing tube and afterwards, a drain may be placed in your neck for around 12 hours. The duration of the surgery will depend on the type.
- Probable complications: As with any surgery, a reaction to anesthesia and infection can happen. In addition, the nerves that control your vocal chords can get damaged resulting in a change in your voice. It is also possible that the parathyroid glands can also suffer from some damage.
- Recovery: It is very common to develop hypothyroidism. This will require continuous medication but is usually not a cause for concern. Sometimes, depending on your case, radioactive iodine treatment may be needed after the surgery. Sore throat is, of course, common, but you should avoid strenuous activities for a minimum of 10 days post surgery. Depending on the type of surgery, it make take you several days before you can resume normal activities.
Interested in Learning More About Thyroid Surgery? Contact Dr. Christopher M. Shaari.
For more information on thyroid surgery, or other ear, nose and throat problems and procedures, contact Dr. Shaari. We are located in Hackensack, New Jersey, and can be reached directly at 201.342.8060. We look forward to hearing from you soon.
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