Thyroid issues are not uncommon, and many people need surgery on the thyroid. Whether you need to have surgery because of cancer or you have issues with your metabolism, you likely have questions. This guide will answer some questions people have when they learn they need to have surgery.
Why Is Thyroid Surgery Necessary?
Your thyroid regulates hormones in your body, specifically those that help control your metabolism. A lot of issues can develop in your thyroid. For example, your thyroid can become enlarged, overactive, or develop a small lump. Sometimes, the thyroid can also develop cancer.
What Happens During Thyroid Surgery?
Thyroid surgery first requires an IV and general anesthesia, which will put you to sleep. While you are asleep, the doctor will make a small incision on your neck. The doctor may take out all or part of the thyroid gland. If the issue was nodules, the doctor will perform a lobectomy to remove them.
The doctor then closes the incision with tape or stitches. Some patients will still have a drain left at the incision site to remove fluid buildup. The doctor will remove this drain at a later time.
How Can You Prepare for Thyroid Surgery?
First, you need to talk to your doctor about medications and treatments you are currently using. Your doctor may ask you to stop taking certain medications before surgery to ensure that you don’t have any bad reactions to the surgery.
Additionally, your doctor may request that you not eat or drink in the hours leading up to surgery. You should also stop smoking before surgery to ensure that your body heals as quickly as possible. Smoking can actually delay healing and lead to infection.
What Is Recovery Like After Thyroid Surgery?
After you have surgery, the anesthesia may take several hours to wear off. The doctor may require that you stay at the surgery center for some time after monitoring your progress and recovery. Some people stay overnight and some go home after just a few hours.
While some people are nauseous after surgery, most can eat and drink afterward. Additionally, some people need to take hormone replacement medications after surgery if the doctor removed the entire thyroid. After all, the thyroid was previously managing a variety of hormones. Some people also exhibit signs of low calcium after surgery. Supplements can help with this problem.
Your doctor will typically prescribe medication for pain during your recovery. The risk of infection is relatively low, but a doctor could prescribe an antibiotic to ensure that infection does not occur.
Some patients worry about having a noticeable scar along their neck. In most cases, surgeons are able to use the natural creases of the neck to create a scarless appearance. In the first weeks of healing, you may notice a raised mark where the incision was.
While you should be able to perform some light stretches to ease soreness, you must wait for at least a week to perform strenuous exercise. The doctor may advise you to wait longer depending on your recovery.
Finally, take note that your voice be strained in the days after surgery. You may see changes in your voice that last long term, but hoarseness is short term.
What Should You Do If You Have Questions?
You should always work with a doctor you feel comfortable with. You should be comfortable asking your doctor questions about your upcoming surgery and diagnosis.
The Surgical Clinic offers thyroid surgery for those who need it. If you believe you may need a thyroid surgery or you have concerns about thyroid issues, call us today to learn more.