Alternate Names for Thyroidectomy:
Surgical removal, thyroid
Your doctor may do the following:
- Physical exam
Laboratory and/or imaging tests
to assess thyroid function
- Ultrasound -uses sound waves to evaluate organs in the body
- MRI -uses magnetic waves to produce images of the inside of the body
- Thyroid medicine to suppress thyroid activity in patients with hyperthyroidism
- Thyroid scan-uses a radioactive substance and scanning tool to evaluate the thyroid gland
Leading up to your procedure:
Talk to your doctor about your medicines. You may be asked to stop taking some medicines up to one week before the procedure, like:
- Aspirin or other anti-inflammatory drugs
- Blood thinners, such as clopidogrel (Plavix) or warfarin (Coumadin)
- Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the evening prior to the procedure.
- Arrange for transportation to and from the hospital.
General anesthesia will be used. You will be asleep.Description of Procedure
An incision will be made in the front of the neck. Bleeding vessels will be clamped and tied off. All or part of the thyroid gland will be cut away from other tissues in the neck. Care will be taken to avoid injury to other nearby glands and nerves. Bleeding is controlled with special tools that compress and seal the ends of the vessels. The incision will be closed. The edges of skin will be stitched together. A drain will often be left in overnight. It will help drain any extra fluids.
The thyroid may be removed to treat thyroid cancer. In this case, lymph nodes in the area may also be removed. This will test if the cancer has spread.How Long Will It Take?
About 2-4 hoursHow Much Will It Hurt?
Anesthesia prevents pain during the procedure. Pain after the procedure is common. You will be given medicine to help manage this.Average Hospital Stay
The usual length of stay is one day. Your doctor may choose to keep you longer if complications arise.Post-procedure Care At the Hospital
- There will be discomfort in your neck for several days. The pain can be treated with medicine.
- In some cases, you may have a hoarse voice for a few days.
- Depending on how much of the thyroid is removed, you may need to take replacement thyroid hormone.
- In some cases of thyroid cancer, you may need radioactive iodine treatments. This is called remnant ablation.
When you return home, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:
- Keep the incision clean and dry.
- Do not get the incision wet until your doctor allows. If it does get wet, dry it immediately.
- Do not apply make-up, lotion, or cream to the incision area.
- Perform neck exercises as instructed by your doctor.
- Take all medicines as prescribed by your doctor.
- Be sure to follow your doctor's instructions .
Learn what the procedure is. Find out how it is performed.
Find out why and when this procedure should be done.
Learn about possible complications and what might increase the risk of them.
What to Expect
Find out how long it will take, what they will be doing and what to expect afterwards.
What are the next steps and other possible tests needed after you have received the results.
Call Your Doctor
What to look out for and when to call your doctor after a procedure has been done.