Recovery after partial thyroidectomy - Thyroid UK

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Recovery after partial thyroidectomy

Gstclair
Gstclair

I had partial thyroidectomy nearly 4 weeks ago and would be grateful for any advise on their experiences of recovery as I'm really struggling with my voice which is very weak. People can't hear me if there is background noise & I can't talk any louder! It makes me feel drained and it also feels like someone is holding a finger on my trachea & the throat is tight which makes swallowing difficult. I'm wondering how long this will last as consultant said it takes 9 months to fully recover.

42 Replies
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i felt awful for 4 weeks, the op was straight forward but some was attchd to my vocal chords. My throat was very tender and sensitive for ages, i still cant have anything near my throat, had to give my sister my beautiful necklaces and all crew neck and polo neck jumpers gone. My voice was ok after few weeks, it is a big op so you need to rest. make sure you have regular follow ups, my dr and surgeon forgot to tell me i would need thyroid replacement for 6 years!!!! i became very ill. Hope you are feeling better soon xx

Gstclair
Gstclair in reply to Binkie

Thanks for your reply Binkie & sorry to hear the difficulties you've had too. Are you on medication now? I've been told I won't need it as other half of thyroid will do the job but today I feel awful & feel like I'm going to pass out, feel sick & my feet are tingling not sure if just under the weather or something to do with thyroid

Binkie
Binkie in reply to Gstclair

lol mine was removed and i was told for 6 years it still worked fine when i didnt have one! i have learned not to believe anything they say without doing my own research and private tests. My dr was an idiot and nearly cost me my life, i became bed bound and in chronic pain before i found a support group. Ask for more tests and post them on here for help xx

Polly1963
Polly1963 in reply to Gstclair

Hi Gstclair

I know that you posted over 2 years ago but just in case you are still logging in - please could you let me know how long it took you to get back to normal as I have the same symptoms you had 5 weeks after my op. Thank you.

Gstclair,

It can take up to six months for the voice to recover.

btf-thyroid.org/information...

physiciansweekly.com/thyroi...

Gstclair
Gstclair in reply to Clutter

Thank you clutter it was interesting reading shame they don't give you this information after surgery

I had my thyroid removed 15 years ago, and I hate to tell you this but my voice has never been the same,I don't have the same strength in it .I can't shout over noise,and sadly can't sing very well any more,it is weak.

I had it tested after the operation and they said that my vocal cords hadn't been damaged,but my voice never got back to where it had been before.

As for your throat being tight, yes it will be for a while,and sore, but that will get better.

Sorry to hear that blondpalomino it's horrible having a weak voice as people don't understand & I can't be bothered repeating myself several times! Glad to hear the tightness will eventually go!

I had a total thyroidectomy a year ago and had a very weak voice for 5 months,it is almost back to normal just occasionally it can be low pitched.The tight throat feeling does improve as internal healing takes place.

Gstclair
Gstclair in reply to clare10

Thanks for your reply clare10 and good to hear you have made a full recovery almost in the end & I hope that I will too just need to be patient!

I seem to be in the minority here. Prior to partial T in 1989 I could not stand pressure on my throat. Afterwards was quite normal after just a week or so recovery, but it did take about 4-5 months for my residual gland to start working again properly. After full T in 2005,I felt absolutely marvellous just as soon as they removed the drainage tubes and I could get around the ward a bit. What a difference to how I felt when I walked into hospital a few days earlier.

I had no pain or discomfort at all, my voice unaffected and I was over the moon with how good I felt, until shortly after I started on levo, when the troubles started.

Gstclair
Gstclair in reply to Panda321

I think you are in the minority but lovely to hear such a positive story but a shame it got worse after taking Levo are you any better now?

Panda321
Panda321 in reply to Gstclair

Now taking NDT - Thyroid-S or Thiroyd. Will never take levo again.

Awaiting decision from local APC (Area Prescribing Committee) for my complaint that I can't get these on NHS prescription (a long, long story!). They meet on March 29th.

I have no faith whatsoever left in GP's and endocrinologists but I do trust surgeons who have now saved my life 3 times - for Partial T for inward growing goitre when nearly self-strangulated, Full T when I was nearly dying on my feet with multinodular goitre and for Kidney cancer.

Gstclair
Gstclair in reply to Panda321

Oh goodness you've really been through it you must have really suffered. I hope you are better now & doing well on NDT. I'm not convinced the remaining part of my thyroid is coping I have awful fizzing in my legs & feet today and feel really weak & dizzy but my results are in range!!

Raali
Raali in reply to Panda321

Hi there I recently had my partial thyroidectomy too! How ever I felt awful afterwards I am not on any thyroid medication and I am hoping the half lobe will take over. Did you have any unpleasant symptoms after the partial removal? How did you feel after the first surgery, please i am desperate to know! Thank you!

Hiya,

I had a partial thyroidhectomy 4 years ago to remove thyroid cancer and my voice has never recovered. I still have my left side of the thyroid gland and the medics hoped that I would not develop hypothyroidism. Unfortunately, this is not the case and I have had a hoarse voice ever since, this is one of the symptoms of hypothyroidism. I hope that once fully medicated that my voice would improve but it hasn't. I was told 2 years post surgery by an ENT consultant that the laryngyle nerve is cut during thyroid removal surgery and if it doesn't repair within 6 to 12 months it never will. I had speech therapy but this hasn't helped much. I've soldiered on but being unhappy with my voice I complained to my surgeon and have since had a second opinion from another ENT specialist at a different hospital. The diagnostic tests showed that I had developed false vocal chords that were stopping me from speaking properly. I'm now starting another bout of speech therapy and hopefully it will work this time.

I don't want to be the bearer of a bad experience but you need to be aware that it could happen to you. Whatever you do rest your voice all the time, don't do too much singing as this might slow your recovery, no shouting and make sure you get plenty of rest and relaxation. I'm still suffering from my surgery 4 years later but I started to feel a bit better after about 3 years. I know that it's going to take time for me but hopefully you will have a better experience and recover quicker.

Good luck but if you need any help or just a chat please don't hesitate to PM me.

TT x

Thank you for sharing your story & sorry to hear you had cancer & continued struggle with your voice. I really hope the speech therapy works for you this time. It's so hard having a weak voice especially when working & having to talk on phone! I find it really embarrassing. I'm sure people look at me & think you're ok now but little do they know!

Morning,

It's an invisible disability and nobody knows how you feel at all.

I was a teacher and was unable to return to work because, like you, I rely on my voice to work. I think you many have gone back to work too soon and talking too much will stop or slow down the healing process. Perhaps you should get a sick note and take some time off work or ask for other duties that do not involve using your voice. You really need to look after it because it might become a long term problem.

Take care and if you need to chat please don't hesitate to contact me via PM.

Have a good weekend.

TT x

Raali
Raali in reply to ThyroidThora

Hi are you on any thyroid replacement medication after the surgery?

ThyroidThora
ThyroidThora in reply to Raali

Hiya,

It's been a nightmare journey. I've had levothyroxine, then levothyroxine and liothyronine combination therapy, then put on Armour because synthetic meds don't work. This was then taken off me two and half years ago. So I tried liothyronine monotherapy and started getting more and more ill and then had to buy my own NDT and so started to buy WP Thyroid from the US. I started to feel a bit better then the manufacturer for WP Thyroid stopped manufacture and so I went back on the liothyronine because my GP would prescribe it. Specialist at the hospital went mad and nagged me into trying ERFA thyroid from a UK pharmacist on private prescription. I had to buy it myself and it wasn't right so I've refused to buy it again and went back on the liothyronine. I am in negotiations with my specialist who wants to stop my GP prescribing liothyronine because of the cost but, I can no longer afford to buy my own NDT because I lost my job to the cancer and I've been using my sick benefit to pay for my own NDT, hospital visits (I have to travel about 30 miles on public transport to get to hospital), supplements and other incidentals in my bid to get better. My benefits are likely to be knocked off soon because the DWP is going to send me for a work capability assessment even though I can no longer teach, I'm a primary school teacher, because the surgeon cut through the laryngeal nerve and I keep losing my voice. I'm on my 3rd round of adult speech therapy now. I've developed so many other health conditions because of this and I feel like I'm on a constant merry-go-round of hospital appointments in 4 different hospitals, 3 of which are not in my local area and take me between 2 and 3 hours of travel each way on public transport. It's a nightmare I would not wish on my worst enemy.

Sorry about the rant. I hope are having better luck than me.

TT x.

Raali
Raali in reply to ThyroidThora

Hi again what related issues did you have if you don’t mind me asking? I have constant dizziness after the surgery and it’s not getting better along with heart palpitations and anxiety. I feel like I am going crazy I tried np thyroid and it made me feel worse! Why are you on t3 only and how much are you on? Did nothing else suit you? I am so scared now due to my declining health!

ThyroidThora
ThyroidThora in reply to Raali

Oh dear, I am really sorry to hear of your declining health.

I too have gone through very similar problems. When my right sided thyroid gland was removed I wasn't started on any medication for nearly 6 weeks. At first I felt fine but after a couple of weeks I started feeling as though I was dying. I couldn't walk because I was so dizzy and would fall over or out of bed. This meant I was moving about on all fours because I was frightened of falling down the staircase, this did happen, or around the house. I had slow movements, couldn't think properly at all, I lost my memory and still struggle to remember things, my hair fell out and has gone so fine and thin, my skin became so dry it flaked off and when I got undressed there would be a plume of dry skin in the air, within my clothes and falling around me, My weight shot up and I gained over a stone of weight in 4 weeks even though I was barely eating. The fatigue was debilitating and I couldn't leave the house on my own nor do basic things in the home without feeling completely exhausted. Alongside this I had heart palpitations and anxiety because of my experiences. I'm struggling now 5 years later but I've to do my best to just get on with things or I'd give up altogether.

As regards the T3 that's another long story. Please PM if you want to know more about this because it is a very private battle with the NHS.

Keep your pecker up!

TT x.

Polly1963
Polly1963 in reply to Raali

Hi Raali. How are you feeling now?

I also had a partial thyroidectomy followed by a full thyroidectomy 3 months later due to thyroid cancer. I felt exhausted, drained etc for the first few weeks after both surgeries but quickly made a full recovery. I was prescribed 150mg thyroxine and 2 years later continue to feel really well without ever having to adjust meds. Just wanted to share a positive experience. Hopefully you will start to feel much better soon.

Gstclair
Gstclair in reply to Ali-pops

Thanks for sharing Ali-pops & sorry to hear you had cancer but so pleased you are feeling better & got through it. I was very lucky that mine came back benign despite having a 5cm nodule & being told to prepare myself for the worst. So many people seem to struggle with thyroid meds which puts me off so nice to hear you have felt well on it. I have a small nodule on remaining side so hope this doesn't grow & don't want to go through it again!

Well... I too have just had a partial thyroidectomy on my right side. The tumor or “toxic multinodular goiter” /tumor wasn’t cancerous. My ENT was going to do the total, however after weeks of sleepless nights over it and days of research (and knowing that my tumor was benign after biopsy months later) I asked the surgeons office to speak to him and inform him I only wanted the affected side taken out. The agreement was that he would leave the left side of the thyroid intact as long as when he removed the right side, pathology would biopsy the whole tumor to see if it was cancerous, as well as test the left side while I was under and if everything was normal and there were not areas of concern, he’d leave it there and close me up. When I awoke and was alert enough to understand him, he left me know that all was well and he completed the partial. Now my voice IS GONE, however as he explained, there was ZERO issues with my vocal chords. They did Not cut the vocal chords at all like one of the commenters stated happened to them. I had a tiny tube with a scope down into my lungs to monitor any residual damage to the chords during surgery. Nothing was recorded that there was damage. I had no voice last week. This week it has been up and down with a today being the day People could actually hear me at Starbucks. My surgeon believes a week or two from now my voice will be back. I’m prayerful it will be all the way better. So far my scar is getting smaller and smaller and I’m so pleased!

So far no meds to take - my methamizole is what I took for hyperthyroidism and now I don’t need it. The assumption is to allow my left side to do its thing. I am on calcium supplements and calciferol to keep my calcium levels up in my blood sjnce it dipped a bit during and a little after surgery. My levels stabilized last weekend but still on it the rest of the year. I have blood work coming up Dec 7 so we’ll see what my T3/T4 levels say and whether I need to take a small dose or synthroid. Hoping I won’t have to but we’ll see. I do find myself tired sometimes during the first 9days post-op. But overall I’m happy right now about my choice to go partial instead of total.

Raali
Raali in reply to Kai_W

Hi I also had a partial removal due to a toxic nodular goitre. How are you feeling now? Did you ever start on any anti thyroid medication? Please let me know as I am not sure if I need one as I don’t feel quite well!

Polly1963
Polly1963 in reply to Raali

Hi Raali.

I had a partial thyroidectomy on 16th November and am still not feeling well. I the right side was removed as I had a 5cm nodule which was growing into my chest and pressing in my windpipe. Unfortunately, the op wasn't straightforward as I had a haematoma when I came out so they had to take me back into surgery for another hour and 10 minutes to stop the bleeding. The toll of 2 lots of anaesthetic and 2 breathing tubes down my throat has really taken it' s toll! I am permanently tired, struggle to take a full breath at times (although this is getting better (and am very dizzy mist of the time. I have seen my GP several times but they tell me it is part of the healing process. I'm seeing the ENT consultant tomorrow for my follow up appointment.

If you don't mind me asking when did you have your op and how are you feeling now?

Raali
Raali in reply to Polly1963

Polly I had mine privately at the BMI priory Birmingham. But I have felt awful ever since with dizziness and brain fog. Do you have problems with the brain fog? It’s ruining my life I feel so dizzy headed!

Polly1963
Polly1963 in reply to Raali

Hi Raali

Yes, I feel completely lightheaded and spaced out, like I'm in a for, so I can relate to that! I have had quite a lot of anxiety too.

I saw my consultant yesterday and he said it will take about 2 months to settle down. I had to go back in for a second op as I had a haematoma, so he said the double surgery and anaesthetic has taken its toll. I had a blood test today to see if I need any medication.

In the meantime, for my anxiety I have been using Passiflora drops for the last few days and they seem to be calming the anxiety down.

Can you go to your doctor and ask for a thyroid blood test to check your levels?

Raali
Raali in reply to Polly1963

Hi again Polly! I just got my tests done so will wait and see what’s going on. What about your tests did you get them done? It does take a while for the numbers to fall back in range again. I hope I can do something about my situation as it’s driving me nuts!

Polly1963
Polly1963 in reply to Raali

Hi. No I haven't got them back yet but the anxiety has been quite bad today! Let me know how you get on with your results and I'll keep you posted.

Raali
Raali in reply to Polly1963

Polly I am trying to stay positive and hoping the other half will take over as just the other day I spoke to a wonderful lady who had half of her thyroid removed and is without meds through a healthy diet and iodine.

Polly1963
Polly1963 in reply to Raali

Hi Raali. I am still feeling really awful too. What are your symptoms now? I feel as if I can't take a deep breath, feel tense and anxious. I really hope it improves soon😢. Are you in the UK?

Raali
Raali in reply to Polly1963

Hi polly I have severe brain fog, shortness of breath, not to mention the depression and anxiety! This surgery has ruined my life. I feel so fatigued that can’t even explain. I was in Uk and that’s where I met the dumb endo and his surgeon who suggested the partial thyroidectomy. I feel like I am dying I have just repeated my blood tests so I am waiting on them to see what I will do next. Do you have any other symptoms apart from these? I am not in Uk anymore although I visit every year. I feel like crying my heart out!

Polly1963
Polly1963 in reply to Raali

Hi Raali.

I had my TAG result back which is 1.3 and no medication needed😣. They didn't test the T3 or T4. Still feeling really dizzy and like I can't take a deep breath. It's really getting me down and I'm at a loss as to what to do! I've ordered a thyroid support supplement which I should get today. I'll keep you posted. How are you feeling? Have you got your blood test result back?

Polly1963
Polly1963 in reply to Polly1963

Sorry that should say TSH!

Polly1963
Polly1963 in reply to Raali

Hi Raali. Are you feeling any better?

Raali
Raali in reply to Polly1963

Hi Polly no I am not. I feel miserable myself I also have very bad pms symptoms. I will send you a private message in detail about it. Give it some time.

How long did you need someone with you after the op? I'm going to stay with a family member after they have it done and wondered how long she will need me there for.

Gstclair
Gstclair in reply to Brb123

I stayed in hospital one night & my husband stayed with me as was easier for him to help me to toilet. I was very weak leaving the hospital & should probably have stayed 2 nights really but Just stayed in bed at home. I would say a couple of days but really depends on how surgery goes. I was able to move around ok but just felt weak and was helpful to have someone cook food etc. I took 2 weeks off work but ended up needing 3 as voice was so weak. Hope this helps a bit!

Tingling is from being low in vitamin d you need to have your levels checked ASAP this is an emergency see a doc

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