Total thyroidectomy after partial - any surprises in store?

Hi again!

So, I had a partial thyroidectomy last month and the remaining half will be removed at the end of this month (papillary carcinoma). I'm suppose I'm just looking for a bit of quick reassurance from people who had a TT done in 2 stages. I felt pretty ok after my first surgery, all things considered. Very uncomfortable, swollen, bruised, tired etc for 2-3 weeks but not in agony or anything terrible. Is there any reason the second op would be any different? Do you become hypothyroid immediately or is it gradual over a few days? Do you start meds the morning after and is there a standard starting dose I should expect to be given? My consultant is ok with explaining what we're going to do right then etc but I get very little about what to expect AFTER that and the appointments are such a whirlwind, I don't think of my questions till the next day!

Can you let me know how long you were kept in hospital too? My Dr knows I have a real thing about being in; I went home first thing the following morning after the last op as there were a few complications with the surgery. He said we'd try for the following day again but I should expect 3+. Now, I'm not reckless - if I felt ill, I wouldn't be making a fuss to go home. But if I feel fine (as *fine* as I did last time!) is there any reason I shouldn't be allowed out with a similar timescale? If I were going to have parathyroid complications, wouldn't that be fairly quick (hours, rather than days?)

Any advice, experiences, would be greatly received :)

2 Replies

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  • Vickybean,

    No surprises. My thyroidectomy followed the same course as my hemilobectomy. Surgeon opened through the original incision extending it by a couple of millimetres. Scar is a thin white line in the hollow of my throat and barely visible. I had an overnight stay as scheduled.

    If you have parathyroid complications it may not be immediately obvious. If you have numbness and tingling in the fingers, toes and around mouth and nose which are signs of low calcium, your parathyroid glands may have been bruised or lost. My low calcium was detected in a blood test after I left the hospital. I didn't feel well enough to make the 3 hour round trip to collect a prescription from the hospital and calcium levels self corrected within a week without calcium supplements.

    You will be given thyroid replacement the day after surgery. I was given 60mcg Liothyronine (T3) the morning after surgery because I was to have radioactive iodine ablatement (RAI) follow up in a few weeks. If you are not having RAI you will be given Levothyroxine, probably 125-200mcg to suppress your TSH <0.1 which reduces the likelihood of cancer recurrence.

  • Thank you for that. It takes a lot of the worry out of things when you roughly know what to expect.

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