Thyroid surgery scar freak out!

I have just had a total thyroidectomy on Friday and am massively freaked out by the scar. It's the fact it's on my neck. I find myself crying all the time and can't even look at myself in the mirror when its covered up let alone try uncovering it! The one time I've taken the dressing off, I almost collapsed and started wretching. Went to doc about it today and she thinks I'm suffering from anxiety as a result of thyroxine imbalance but said I just have to get over it? How can I get over it so I can clean the wound? Had anyone else had this?

35 Replies

  • Hi

    This must be very upsetting for you...

    I thought you might be interested in this before and after pic..



  • The scar will continue to mature and improve over 12 months and look much better at the end of this time.

  • Hi

    Please remember it is very early days after your surgery.your wound will heal quite quickly.I had. TT two years ago.six weeks after my op I went to a wedding I found a really nice necklace to cover the scar.i used bio oil eight weeks after surgery when the wound had healed ,my scar is now barely visible.

    I agree with your Dr you will feel very emotional and anxious I know I did.You will get better, hopefully they will get your thyroxine right soon.

    Give yourself time to recover it does get better.


  • Did your GP tell you to clean the wound? I was told to leave mine alone for at least a week. I waited about ten days and then as instructed by my surgeon gave it a good wash and started Bio oil. It is barely visible and I am sure yours will be the same in a few months. I had TT at the end of Jan and by April I was not needing even to wear scarves or necklaces to cover it. Don't worry. It will get better quickly. ( I just avoided looking at it when it was bad in the beginning). x

  • I had a TT nearly 7 years ago ,i was in shock when i first saw it ,as a friend had a scar about an inch long .Mine was from one side to other,my daughter joked that it was like frankinstein but without the bolts ,i was not amused by the joke.Now i just have a white line ,a necklace will hide it .you will find that it will look better each week that passes and when the redness goes you won't notice it as much.Hope this makes you feel abit better ,x

  • Hi, I felt just like you. Nearly passed out when I caught sight of it in mirror for first time! Yes it is unnerving because it is on your neck, but as everyone has said is true, it does fade, and you will get to the point where you forget all about it. Do you have staples or stitches or glue.? :-)

  • ...things will change and will improve. In my 20's I had major surgery below the bikini line as I had a tan from an earlier holiday - I just wish they had asked. Another dozen or so operations ensued and my body is a lop-sided maze.... Now at almost 68 I shower without my glasses and put on my slap when facing the public and a good red lipstick resolves everything....everyone notices the lipstick but not the rest :-) :-)

    It's a bit like Coco Chanel and the LBD - Little Black Dress - Always wear black Darling - they only remember that it was black and not what it was :-)

    Please do not think I am undermining your situation - my daughter has a thyroid removal scar - am just trying to put a positive slant on things....

    Wishing you well with your recovery....

  • I haven't had this surgery but I wanted to add a comment just to say that a friend of mine had had a partial thyroidectomy and I didn't even realise until she told me (and I've seen her wear all kinds of necklines), so the scar definitely gets better over time.

    I also wanted to say that my mum had cosmetic surgery last year and virtually immediately afterwards we were instructed to apply a thin film of antibiotic ointment and vitamin e oil over the incisions. After a time we stopped the antibiotic ointment and used cortisone cream and vitamin e. Obviously your surgeron's instructions are paramount, but after the initial period is over and you've carried out his wishes and the incision has healed, there's nothing to stop you from applying creams and oils to focus on helping the scar fade.

    I'm sorry you're so distressed. I can totally understand that it must be upsetting even from the point of view that you've had surgery and it always makes you feel your mortality and vulnerability, but this will pass. You'll also be feeling the effects of the anaesthetic and the hormone fluctuation so be kind to yourself and protect yourself and give yourself another week to recover and hopefully you'll be on more of an even keel. xx

  • Thanks everyone for replies. I have got paper stitches and advised to dab with warm water over first two weeks. I've always had a thing about necks and it just creeps me out no end. I imagine the cut opening or bleeding and I'm just in a crazy anxious state. I've been taking drowsy medication, not because I need it but so that I can sleep and forget about it!! What can I do until it fades to be able to look in the mirror? :-(

  • You were probably pretty stressed out before you went for your op plus now your hormones are all over the place. My sister in law had a TT when she was in her early twenties and when it healed you hardly noticed it, now you never even think about it.

    You have had a load if good suggestions for how to minimise scar tissue so hopefully you can use some of those. You are probably feeling pretty fragile, a TT is a big thing and your poor body has to recover so be kind to yourself. I know it sounds easy but just try not to look at it unless you absolutely have to just now and it will look fine in no time, good luck :-)

  • No wonder you feel scared, it's a very traumatic and insensitive of GP just to say you are anxious. It would be mad if you didn't feel like that. Having general anaesthesia really takes it out of you, the drugs stay in your body for six weeks and don't leave body fat until about a year after, so that can have a big effect on stress levels. I'd get someone else to bathe your wound and hold your hand. I'd book a massage, acupuncture and even a session or two of hypnosis to tide you over if you can afford one of all of them. Ditch caffeine and take up calming camomile. Watch stupid funny comedies and find someone the minute you feel anxious who will simply listen and be there for you. xxxx

  • Why not wrap a pretty scarf loosely round the whole problem (including the dressing). Out of sight, maybe out of mind?

  • Hi Amn_Shetland, I really feel for you, I think you must be in shock. It sounds like there are a number of things going on. Your hormones and your whole body has been affected by the sudden removal of your thyroid and I don't know anything about replacing them I'm afraid. But Arnica tablets are excellent for recovering from an operation, you need 'acute' dosing. And Rescue remedy sounds a bit wishy-washy but it's very easy to come by and really helps take the edge of what has basically been a traumatic event. The spray is discreet and can help with moments of panic. The individual flower remedies or even better the Australian bush flower remedies can help deal with your emotional response to the trauma. If it continues, I would really recommend looking at them in more detail.

    Also, in terms of the scar, some people myself included, get keloid scars. Keloid scars are where the scar becomes bigger, raised and more red than the original wound. You need something called CICA-care, which is available on the NHS as it is expensive or on ebay. They use them in hospital for severe burns and they are medically proven to allow your skin to heal. JojoMamanBebe do something similar called Lily C for C-section scars and that might be the right size anyway. It is basically a silica gel sheet, which you can wear at night or under clothes. Aloe Vera gel is also a powerful healer for the skin. Good luck. I really hope you start to feel a bit better about it. XX

  • Hi maybe your practice nurse could help you the first couple of times you neef to clean your wound until you het usef to it

  • Thanks AnnaG75, you have no idea how much your post has helped me make sense of what's going on! I was diagnosed as going into shock after having my daughter 7 months ago so what you said does actually feels similar. Can I def take rescue remedy with thyroxine as that's a good idea and I'll ask about cica-care. The nurse has agreed to clean it on Friday too but even she can't understand why I'm so freaked out.

    My husband is struggling to know how to help me because physically I'm not in that much pain so he keeps telling me that I'm being silly.

  • 'Being silly' just reflects that he doesn't understand your distress; it doesn't mean that your distress is less valid. It isn't really necessary to empathise in order to sympathise. He probably feels helpless and doesn't know what else to say.

    If you can tell him how he can help you, whatever that may be (going shopping or rubbing your back or whatever you like) maybe he'll refocus. You need to be good to yourself and that includes resisting judgement/self-judgement like 'being silly'. It doesn't matter that you don't understand your feelings, just be kind.

    Can he clean your wound? That would possibly be really helpful!


  • No wonder you feel awful, all that and a fairly new baby. Your system must just be recovering from being pregnant and now this. Glad you both had a good night last night, I sometimes think my husband can't cope with things he can't fix - but we have been married for forty years so he knows not to even hint at me being silly!

    I love and swear by Rescue Remedy and used it when I was taking thyroid meds - have even used it on my cat. The little pastilles are good too but I like to carry the spray with me. :-)

  • He sounds scared and coping like a lot of men would with each other and trying to jolly along. Needs to say nothing and listen and hold you. x

  • Thanks puncturedbicycle, we had a long talk tonight and I do think he feels better helping me if he can do something practical so we went for a drive together and then watched a film.

  • sounds a good evening - did you like my pic? I was more than freaked out at first too - what a bloody mess! but it got better & back at work after 10 days - just vaseline when raw - then bio-oil helped....

    now I wear my proof of battle with pride! (but it's so faded no-one can see)

    as for silly - asked hubby he says brave, he wouldn't offer up his throat! not even for the wolf with red roses! x

  • That sounds lovely. I'm so glad for both of you. Trying times for you both right now I imagine. x

  • Everything everyone else said and more. I had a partial followed by a total 18 years later. The surgeon did warn me that a second op could leave a nasty scar. When I came home my neighbour's teenage brother fainted when he saw my neck. But six months later there was just a tiny thin pink line and a year later it looked like a little crease in the neck. I have never felt the need to hide it because there is nothing much to hide. I am sure if you can think back to your childhood - how many cuts and grazes you had? Can you find many of them now?

    The bio-oil is brilliant. I had a nasty scald on my hand which came up in a HUGE blister. I started putting bio oil on it a few days later and there's not a mark there. A little splash on the other hand, I overlooked with the bio oil and it's a brown spot where it was. Amazing stuff. Highly recommended.

  • I wouldn't look at my scar for ages as I was terrified. My husband looked at it & told me not to worry as it was smaller than he thought it would be. It healed really quickly though & now it is hardly noticeable....honestly! Please don't worry as you will be fine once it's healed up. x

  • Posted a photo of my scar addressed to Wysewoman. Take a look...

    What I will that it does get better...scar is just about invisible now. Give it time...

    Chin up ducks...(its a bit comfier like that...!!)


  • Vitamin E oil topically and echinacea orally help to speed wound healing and minimize scarring. In the meantime, wear pretty scarves. They'll hide the healing wound and cheer you up!

  • I haven't had an operation on my thyroid, but I've had surgery many times on lots of other bits and pieces. One thing to be aware of is that many people (including me) have quite bad reactions to having an anaesthetic. It can take some time to recover our normal selves after having one. Depression and tearfulness is my usual reaction, but it does fade with time.

    Another thing to be aware of... If your anaesthetic included any nitrous oxide it can strip your body of vitamin B12. If you were deficient even by a small amount before your op, the effects of losing more B12 will be significant. It would be worth finding out about the nitrous oxide, and supplementing with B12 if necessary. Do a google for "anaesthetic vitamin B12" or "nitrous oxide vitamin b12".

    Some info about it :

    Good luck with your recovery. :)

  • Why on earth don't the surgeons warn you to expect a nasty looking scar?

    A few years ago Smith & Nephews invented a dressing for such scars, facial etc. Sorry, I can't recall for the life of me what they are called!

    They were expensive, spongy looking large plasters/dressings.

    My sister had a nasty neck operation, something to do with spine, and used a total of 3. You actually have to look for her scar, it is hardly seen.

    Good luck. I'll do a google search..... X

  • I know its a shock when you first see the scar and colour and swelling but trust me by the fourth to fifth week it will look lots and lots better. Take care carroll

  • My thyroid came out 5 weeks ago & I had same reaction. I asked when I could apply cream and started to do so after 3 weeks. Consultant said expensive creams would make so difference. BUT after 5 weeks my scar is almost gone! And I use my own made up formulation. Health food store don't recommend the product you mention, it's base is paraffin which the skin does not absorb. So try this: mix together every day 3 drops vitamin E oil, 2 large dollops of Aloe Vera Gel, 2 drops lavender aromatherapy oil. Mix this is any base face cream, or vitamin C cream or the best is pure collagen cream. I apply morning and night, liberally, really massage it in and stretch the scar out a little too. Leave think layer on overnight too. I saw results in 3 days. I'm 67 so my skin is old but really repairing well. Good luck, let me know how you get on.

  • Great advice. Like you I try to stay away from petrochemicals.

    Someone else here recommended making a cream of beeswax, oil and water, which also makes a very nice cream, though possibly not as therapeutic as the one you recommend. Lavender in particular is very good with inflammation.

  • Coconut oil is great too.

  • I like it too. Makes a brilliant body lotion all on its own, except for its tendency to slide off the hand if you don't get apply it fast enough. The very best thing on legs though.

  • All the comments here are very true - it really does get better!

    I was dreading my scar - the surgeon said it would just blend into the wrinkles on my neck, but I was only mid-20s at the time and didn't have (or want) any wrinkles!! The 'necklace' of staples was horrific and the tight feeling across my neck made me retch.

    Once the scar had knit together massaging it with a lanolin cream/ Bio-oil improved the tight feeling and by the time a year was up it had lost its angry red colour. Now it is barely noticeable and if I mention it to someone I usually have to actually point it out.

    But the thing that helped most - even when it was red - was that I found that I didn't really mind it once I started thinking of it as my 'smiley' scar! :-)

  • Thanks for all the amazing advice and support. Amazingly a nurse discovered that my state of hysteria and horrendous anxiety around the scar was due to a bad reaction to dihydrocodeine which is useful to know. Still a bit freaked out but so much calmer since stopping the dihydrocodeine. I thought I was completely losing the plot at one point!

  • It must be a relief to have an explanation! Hope you are fully recovered soon x

You may also like...