ENT Head & Neck Surgery Center

Rm 02, 5/F., Kai Seng Commerical Centre,
4-6 Hankow Road, TST Kln, HK
(near Kowloon Hotel)
Tel: (852) 3100 0555
Fax: (852) 3100 0556

Lawrence Chow / ENT Doctor

Facts About Thyroidectomy Surgery

It is estimated that about one in fifty people are diagnosed with thyroid cancer at some point. Many of these patients may be advised to undergo thyroidectomy surgery to remove all or part of the thyroid gland. This article discusses the pros and cons of thyroid surgery, including things to consider when in doubt.


What is a thyroidectomy?

Thyroidectomy is surgery that involves the removal of the entire thyroid gland or parts of the gland. Indications for surgery include hyperthyroidism, thyroid cancer, thyroid lymphoma, and goiter.


Reasons for a thyroidectomy

There are many benefits to this surgery, for instance it is a less invasive procedure with few risks involved in comparison to other surgeries. It is most often needed for cancer. If cancer is not present, it can be done as a treatment for enlarged thyroids or benign tumors. It’s also common for hyperthyroidism.

For most people, a special diet after a thyroidectomy is not necessary. It is likely to eat softer foods and drink normally the morning after surgery.


What are the side effects of thyroid surgery?

After a total thyroidectomy, the entire thyroid gland is removed and no hormone needed to control the body’s metabolic processes is supplied. Hence, the patient will take lifelong thyroid hormone replacements. She might also have to take supplements to balance the calcium levels.

After a thyroid lobectomy, the patient needs to have her thyroid hormone levels checked and will be prescribed a thyroid hormone replacement, if needed.

In the weeks after surgery, the patient may have a temporary neck pain, soreness of the vocal chords or a weak voice.

Besides, the surgery can result in hypothyroidism, which means the patient will need to take medication for the rest of their life. The other major complication is damage to nerves or vessels during the process, leading to reduced blood flow to the vocal cords, which may cause significant voice problems. Post-operative care can also be difficult because patients are more prone to infection.

After surgery, the thyroid gland needs to be closely monitored. This is done with a series of blood tests and ultrasound scans. Thyroid hormone levels may need to be adjusted, and patients will usually need to take thyroid hormone for the rest of their lives. Patients who keep their thyros naturally active and do not have problems can take control of their health by eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and taking supplements.


What is recovery like after thyroid surgery?

After the thyroidectomy or thyroid lobectomy, the patient may have a temporary sore throat, neck pain, difficulty swallowing or a weak voice.

Her diet will be restricted for the evening of the surgery, but generally can return to normal the next day.

Most people may return home within one day of surgery, but take off about two weeks from work to recover. It needs to refrain from heavy lifting or other tasks that can strain the neck for up to three weeks after surgery. Soaking or scrubbing the site of your incision is also discouraged for at least one week to allow it time to properly heal. Showering is generally allowed after about one day.

Pain at the site of the incision will improve after a few days but may continue for a week.

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