hemithyroidectomy post op

I had one a week ago. I was kept in for three nights as the wound was still draining. I've been home since Sunday but I seem to be feeling worse, rather than better. I've got a crippling headache, I'm told this might be caused by the head being clamped backwards during surgery, but also my neck seems stiffer and more difficult to move than a couple of days ago and more painful.  I'm also still exhausted and falling asleep all the time.   I've been taking paracetamol but also stronger painkillers but have been trying to cut down on them.  Can anyone remember how long it took them to recover from the surgery and whether they had such bad headaches.  I should add that I have rheumatoid arthritis so this may have had some impact on my jaw pain.  Thanks.

14 Replies

  • I wish you a speedy recovery and a member whose had the same will respond.

    Maybe phone surgery and ask for a phone consultation and that what you're taking at present isn't easing your pain. Considering it's from your neck which we move all the time I do feel sorry for you. RA in the mix as well it might complicate things but pain relief is priority at present.

  • Thanks. I've rung my GP and am waiting for someone to call me back. 

  • Parathyroid glands?  I'd ask for a check of your serum calcium.  Best wishes!

  • Thank you but my GP just rung and she thinks it's muscle spasm from the surgery. She's told me to continue with the stronger painkillers, do gentle neck exercises and use heat to relax the muscles. Makes sense and I feel reassured.   

  • I had excruciating headaches up the back of my head and stiffness after my hemi. So much so that I went to the GP but he confirmed it was muscular/tension from the op. It was between 2 and 3 weeks that I could comfortably turn my head both ways to be able to drive. 

    At 2-3 weeks I was managing the school run and coming straight home to nap with my toddler because I was still so tired. 

    Don't try to rush things. I felt really deflated because everywhere I'd read about only needing 2 weeks to recover and everyone saying it was an easy op to recover from- not my experience!! I was on paracetamol and ibuprofen for at least a week  

    I had the rest of my thyroid removed 2.5 weeks ago and the recovery this time has been much easier. The op was much shorter and straightforward so I haven't suffered headaches. I found out they'd given me morphine in my first op so I refused it this time and haven't suffered as much sickness/nausea/lightheadedness. 

    Also, it's worth getting vitamin/minerals tested. I found out I was vitamin d deficient a few months ago. I'm almost certain this affected my recovery first time round. My vit d levels are now much higher so that will have helped my recovery this time too. 

    I hope you feel better really soon xx

  • Thank you motherclanger  (great name!)  It helps to know it's not just me. I can't take ibuprofen but my GP said to continue with the dihydrocodiene ad paracetamol over the weekend and see how I get on. I thought I'd be off the painkillers by now.   I was led to believe this was an easy op as well, not finding that to be so at all so not really prepared.  I'm already on VitD (as I have RA) so can't be deficient in that but joint problems mean I'm much more affected by anything that affects them. I can feel my TMJ on both sides of my jaw are very painful, for example.  

    Thanks again. x

  • Codeine is stronger so will work better anyway. I can't take it because it makes me sick. 

    Make sure you ask for thyroid blood tests in a few weeks if you're still not feeling right. I was told I would not need any thyroxine with half a thyroid left. It was only when I realised I was getting gradually more and more tired that I got it checked. I ended up being on Levo and needed it increasing to 100mcg after 6 weeks. I was previously euthyroid and never had any thyroid meds x

  • Thanks. I will do that.  They did mention there was a possibility I might need some meds. I'm back on Wednesday for the results. I'm hoping I don't have to go through this again but realise it is a possibility.  Very helpful to hear from you. x

  • I've just reread your post as the fatigue I'm experiencing is dreadful. I'm sleeping for two hours mid morning and afternoon.  I am seeing my consultant tomorrow so am going to ask for some blood tests. I was feeling a lot better over the weekend. Thanks again for your help. 

  • Good luck for tomorrow! I had my follow up yesterday and it was benign (first half was cancer) so I'm very pleased and I've been referred to nuclear medicine for monitoring and possibly RAI. I had bloods done yesterday because I can't stay awake (getting more and more tired - de ja vu!!) xx

  • Thank you.  I'm very pleased you got a good result yesterday!   Let me know how you get on with the fatigue and monitoring.  I will let you know what my results are tomorrow.  xx

  • Hi mother clanger, I thought I should let you know my results were clear. It was benign so no more treatment for me.  Consultant said fatigue is probably still op related but to keep an eye on it.  Thanks so much for your support and please let me know how you get on. xx

  • That's great news. You must be so relieved! 😀 Xx

  • Thank you, I am. Best of luck to you. xx

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