Stop aspirin and other medications causing bleeding one week before surgery.
If you notice swelling in the wound or trouble breathing after surgery tell the nurse immediately.
There’s a small risk of permanent change in voice.
If the whole gland is removed you will need to take a thyroid hormone tablet every day for the rest of your life.
Take two weeks off to recover.
What is this for and is it effective?
Removing one side of the gland is called hemi-thyroidectomy and removing the whole gland is called total thyroidectomy. The surgeon and endocrinologist (hormone specialist) will recommend which operation you need.
The thyroid gland makes thyroid hormone. This hormone is essential for many parts of the body to work properly especially the brain and heart. A blood test can show if the hormone level is normal.
The thyroid gland may need to be removed if it:
- Becomes too large, causing pressure on breathing and swallowing.
- Becomes over active, making too much hormone. This is usually treated with medication first then surgery if medication isn’t working well enough.
- Develop lumps (nodules). These can be benign or due to cancer.
Tests on thyroid lumps include:
- Ultrasound shows the size and shape of the gland and the size and shape of nodules.
- An ultrasound guided needed sample (FNA) can determine if the nodule is benign or due to cancer. This is like having a blood test, but the needle is placed into the lump to draw out some cells rather than into a vein to draw blood.
- Sometimes a CT of the neck and chest is needed.
For more information about thyroid disease and treatment see www.thyroid.org