What Should You Expect After Thyroid Surgery?


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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.

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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.

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