Patients & Visitors

Endocrine Surgery

Surgery for Thyroid Cancer

A thyroidectomy is carried out under a general anaesthetic. The operation usually takes around two hours and will leave a small scar in the lower neck.

In most cases this should not be very noticeable as the scar is usually located within a skin crease.Following surgery, your neck will feel sore, so you will be given painkillers to help ease any discomfort. Your voice may sound hoarse, but this usually passes within a few weeks. In a small number of cases, the hoarseness can be permanent.

You will routinely have a vocal cord check both before and after your surgery and will be referred to ENT if your voice change is persistent.

You may also have a lymph node dissection if the cancer has spread to the cervical lymph nodes.

Most people are well enough to leave hospital the next day but if you have a total thyroidectomy you will be kept in for between three to five days. Following discharge all patients are advised to convalesce , for two to three weeks, and avoid any activities that could put a strain on your neck, such as heavy lifting. You would normally be expected to return to work within a month.

Following discharge from hospital you will be reviewed in the combined Endocrine Clinic and have routine thryoid function and calcium blood tests.

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