It’s important to know prior to your thyroid surgery what to expect after your operation. That way the process won’t be nearly as surprising or concerning to you. It can also be a great barometer for how your post-operative recovery is going and when it might be time to consult your medical professional for questions and concerns. The team at Surgery Group of LA has created this handy guide about what to expect after your thyroid surgery.
It is fairly common for patients immediately after thyroid surgery to suffer from a temporary sore throat, difficulty swallowing, and a weak voice. These symptoms are normal and almost always temporary. Your doctor will often prescribe a limited diet the day of surgery, but you should be able to follow your normal diet the very next day.
Getting Back to Normal
Most patients will be able to return to their normal daily activities in a few days and to work in about a week. Activities like weight lifting or strenuous work should be avoided however for at least two weeks.
Pain from the incision point usually goes away after a few days, but should not be too dramatic and can be treated with an OTC pain medication like Tylenol or aspirin. If you have been prescribed Percocet at your discharge, do not take OTC medications with acetaminophen like Tylenol. Only use pain medication as prescribed by your doctor to avoid complications.
After surgery, you will need to incorporate supplementation daily as part of your new routine. These will include:
- Thyroid Hormone – usually in the form of a Synthroid (levothyroxine is its generic name) every day on an empty stomach usually in the morning. Do not eat 30 minutes after taking thyroid hormone
- Calcium – Typically after surgery your calcium levels will be depleted and need to be replaced though is usually temporary. Usually in the form of calcium carbonate pills 1-3 times a day at your doctor’s discretion. Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions carefully to avoid side effects or complications.
When to call your doctor
If you are experiencing any of these severe side effects, contact your doctor as soon as you can:
- Fever over 101.5
- Prolonged difficulty swallowing
- Muscle cramps
- Increased pain, swelling, or tenderness in your incision point (Crucial)
While thyroid surgery complications may occur, recovery from thyroid surgery is often quick and easy. However, consult your medical professional if you have any questions or concerns before or after your surgery.