Hemithyroidectomy!

Hi everyone!

I am 17 and getting a hemithyroidectomy soon through the NHS. Not going to lie, I am quite worried about haha. I have a few question about what happens post-op; is it difficult to eat after the surgery and if so, after how many days does the pain die down? And also how many nights will I have to stay in the hospital for after the operation, as on some blogs I saw people left the same day or only stayed over for one night, whereas others were in hospital for over 5 days!

Thank you to anyone who answers this! :)

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26 Replies

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  • I can't answer your specific questions but you can put these to your surgeon.

    I know a young lady who had the same operation at a similar age and she was perfectly normal afterwards with no need for thyroid tablets. I'm sure many patients in this situation will require thyroid supplementation, but in her case it wasn't needed.

    Don't be shy about putting a few questions to your surgeon or expressing any concerns. Most are happy to help but in general surgeons aren't as chatty as other doctors so they need to be asked. I suspect some of the more techy and introverted doctors gravitate towards surgery.

    Pain can be managed by appropriate pain killers, so if it were to cause a problem you could ask your doctor for help. I'm sure someone with personal experience will be along soon.

  • thank you very much for your reply! It's made me feel slightly less worried haha!

  • What are the reasons you need the surgery for if you don't mind me asking?

    Some questions answered here.

    mythyroid.com/thyroidsurger...

    Have you had your thyroid antibodies tested? Worth asking for if not. Tests for Hashimotos (auto immune and very common) often overlooked though.x

  • I am getting it because the results from my FNA and ultrasound scan came back inconclusive and they want to make sure its not cancer, thanks for the link, I'll check it out:)

  • Better to be safe than sorry. Most aren't, try not to overly worry.

    Arnica is really good for healing.

    Good luck. X

  • ok thank you! Can I get Arnica in boots? or do I have to order online? x

  • Yes boots will have it there's two strengths in pills I think it's the 30c that you want for ops, double check with pharmacist. Then click it into the lid don't touch with fingers as it taints it. Bizarre. Always worked for me, surgeons always amazed with how quickly I heal and don't bruise.

    Let us know how you get on. X

  • okay thank you so much! x

  • I had a total thyroidectomy & don'treally remember any pain just a bit of discomfort. No problems eating. Was told would be an overnight stay but I had some calcium problems so had to stay 4 days til it stabilised. You don't say why you are having the surgery but make sure you ask all the questions you need answered beforehand. Write them down so you don't forget any. Good luck.

  • okay! thank you very much :)

  • Mmr2000,

    I was advised to have soups and soft foods available in case my throat was sore but it was fine and I was able to eat normally after surgery. I was kept in overnight and discharged the next day. The hospital was generous with pain relief in ward and to take home after discharge. I only needed pain relief for 3 or 4 days after discharge.

  • ok! hopefully I'll also only be staying in one night then! thank you!

  • I have sub total thyroidectomy 12years ago. Wasn't in any pain afterwards only required paracetamol for headache. No sore throats. I could eat and drink normally. Stayed overnight just to have calcium levels checked. Went home on calcium supplement for about a week. I felt much better for a short while but them experienced symptoms of under active thyroid. Have been on thyroxine since thenI would ask about which thyroid supplement you will need as thyroxine on its own is not always the best. See if you can get GP to prescribe T3 as well as levythroxine. Good luck with you op.

  • okay thank you! apparently I won't need any supplements as I am only having a hemithyroidectomy and so the other part of my thyroid can still do the job!x

  • Mmr2000, some people need thyroid replacement after a hemithyroidectomy, and some don't. I don't know the percentage chance, but I feel like it's something like a quarter who need it and three quarter who don't. So you don't really know which group you'll be in.

  • I had the same op as you are having. I still have 2 small slithers of my thyroid but still require thyroxine. X

  • the surgeon who is doing my op does almost one hemithyroidectomy a week and said that I wouldn't need it unless I had to get a total thyroidectomy, but maybe she's wrong..

  • Maybe I was just unlucky but I do take thyroxine. Fingers crossed you don't xx

  • yeah I hope so... thank you though, I'll let you know, getting the op on the 6th of June :) Xx

  • After my thyroidectomy the nurse came round with toast for us! That was the last thing I expected to be eating, but actually it was fine. I have found you get offered no fruit or vegetables in hospital, so I now always bring a bag of salad and soft fruit like plums. I was very tired after, so chewing is more an issue than sore throat.

    I had my thyroid out in 2 halves, and both times I came in early morning, had my op late morning, it took 4-ish hours. Then stayed over night. The first time they were keen to get rid of me by late morning. But the second time I ended up slipping through the cracks, they obviously didn't need my bed for anyone else, an I was begging you get discharged, but didn't get out till 8pm. I've seen about 10 other people on wards having the same op and out of those 1 was kept for a few days. She was an elderly woman with other conditions who couldn't keep food down.

    I had nothing I would call pain, but some discomfort. Things like coughing could be a little painful. I took paracetamol for a long time afterwards as it also reduced some of my hypothyroid symptoms of dizziness, etc.

    I agree with others that you should ask some stiff questions about whether you really need this operation. You will likely have a slightly lower quality of life than others for your whole life after having it. And some people like me are very unlucky, I've been disabled for 4 years, lost my job, hobbies, have struggled to wash and dress myself. So it is not something to be taken lightly.

  • Okay thanks very much for taking the time to answer:)

  • Hi mmr2000,

    I had a hemithyroidectomy in December and was only in hospital overnight. There was no pain - just discomfort and I was able to eat a sandwich and fruit the day of surgery.

    I took painkillers for just two days but really only because the nurses gave them to me.

  • okay thank you!X

  • Hi mmr2000

    I had a total thyroidectomy, I was scared to death but everything worked out fine. I stayed one night - although they were reluctant to let me do that (I am in the US). I was put on T3 only, Cytomel, for about 6 weeks after the Op. and I felt great, much better than I did on the subsequent Levo. Most people went home immediately after the Op, I saw them being taken home from the recovery room. I was too scared to look after myself the first night. The day after discharge I ate onion soup - I can still remember the taste, heard the birds sing louder than I have ever heard them, couldn't have been happier that I had that nightmare in the rear view mirror and that I was alive and good for another couple of decades at least.

  • hahaha that's great! I'm relieved that everyone seems to be saying that it's not a painful recovery!

  • Hi! I had a hemithyroidectomy 8 years ago and another last November. I have been thyroidless since. Have a look at my posts. I wrote detailed account of my experience for people like you. I hope yours goes well. Good luck

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