After thyroid surgery, a patient can expect to have a raspy, weak voice and experience some degree of neck pain, according to Mayo Clinic. The drain attached below the neck incision is typically removed the day after surgery.
Having neck pain or a hoarse voice does not indicate severe damage to the nerve controlling the vocal cords, notes Mayo Clinic. Patients temporarily experience the effects as a result of irritation from the breathing tube placed inside the windpipe during thyroid surgery. A thyroidectomy may also cause nerve irritation that leads to the short-term effects.
A patient can eat and drink normally after surgery, states Mayo Clinic. Most individuals who undergo a thyroidectomy stay in the hospital for around 24 hours. Once a person goes home, she can resume normal activities within 10 days. Doctors may advise particular activity restrictions depending on the patient’s condition.
A partial thyroidectomy does not require thyroid hormone therapy after surgery, as only a portion of the thyroid is removed, explains Mayo Clinic. The remaining part of the thyroid usually performs the function of the whole thyroid gland. In a complete thyroidectomy, the thyroid is entirely removed; thus, the body cannot produce thyroid hormone without replacement. It is important for patients to take a pill containing the synthetic thyroid hormone levothyroxine on a daily basis.