Thyroid surgery involves removing either part of your thyroid gland or your total thyroid gland.
The surgery may be recommended for one of several reasons. It may be advised as the recommended treatment for an overfunctioning gland, or ‘thyrotoxicosis’.
Alternatively, thyroid surgery may be advised to help identify a cause or provide treatment for a thyroid swelling.
In some cases, it can also be used to treat pressure symptoms from a very enlarged thyroid gland.
You will meet your Consultant for an initial consultation, during this time you will be able to explain your medical history, symptoms and raise any concerns that you might have.
We will also discuss with you whether any further diagnostic tests, such as scans or blood tests, are needed. Any additional costs will be discussed before further tests are carried out.
You will be advised regarding the possible need for any medical treatment before and after surgery. This may include thyroid hormone replacement tablets or calcium supplements.
Thyroid surgery is considered a major operation, and is therefore always performed under general anaesthesia. The surgery carries general risks including bleeding, infection in the surgical site and unsightly scarring. There are also additional specific risks which are pertinent to thyroid surgery and these include the small risk of a change in your voice and a possible drop in your body’s calcium levels.
The operation itself can take between one and two and a half hours. The surgeon will make a cut in the line of one of your skin creases, in the front of your neck and remove the thyroid gland. Following the surgery, you will be required to stay in hospital at least one night, but the duration of hospital stay will vary and potentially be longer, depending on the extent of thyroid surgery that you require.
On the day of your operation, our ward staff will show you to your own private room. We’ll do all we can to make sure you’re comfortable while you’re with us.
Your private room will have an en-suite bathroom and TV and Wi-Fi facilities.
Once you’re ready, our nurses will help you prepare for your operation. Before your procedure, you will meet with your surgeon again and your anaesthetist.
Following your discharge from hospital, after thyroid surgery, you will able to eat and drink normally. Although, you may be able to perform most light, general daily activities, normally, you will need to allow some time to recuperate fully. You should be able to gradually return to work and resume all normal activities after about two weeks following the operation.
Even after you’ve left hospital, we’re still here when you need us. After thyroid surgery, typically our consultants will want to see you at about two weeks after your procedure to see how you are doing.
On rare occasions, complications following thyroid surgery can occur. If you experience any of these symptoms, including voice change, difficulty in breathing, or altered sensations in the hands, feet or lips, including tingling, cramps or pain, please call us straight away.
Your surgery will be performed by your consultant surgeon.
You will need to ask a friend or relative to collect you on the day of discharge.
You should not drive for 48 hours after a general anaesthetic.
Even after your treatment we’re still here when you need us.
If you have any questions or concerns about your recovery you can call and speak to a member of the nursing team at any time, please call 01424 757459.