Recovery after partial thyroidectomy

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.

18 Replies

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • Gstclair,

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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!!

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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!

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