222 S. Greenleaf St., Suite 102, Gurnee, IL 60031
Office: 847-662-4442 Fax: 847-662-4446
1880 West Winchester Rd., Suite 103, Libertyville, IL 60048
Office: 847-367-5770

Thyroid Surgery

WHAT IS THYROID SURGERY?

The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland located at the front of the neck, which is used to maintain the body’s metabolism.  Thyroid surgery is used to treat thyroid nodules, thyroid cancer, and hyperthyroidism. During this procedure, part or all of the thyroid gland is removed. If you have specific questions about thyroid surgery, ask your otolaryngologist to answer them in detail.

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THYROID SURGERY?

After surgery, you may have a drain (tiny piece of plastic tubing), which prevents fluid and blood from building up in the wound. This is removed after the fluid accumulation has stabilized, usually within 24 hours after surgery. Most patients are discharged later the same day or the next day. Complications are rare but may include:

  • Bleeding
  • A hoarse voice or vocal cord paralysis
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Numbness of the skin on the neck
  • Low blood calcium

At home:

Following the procedure, if it is determined that you need to take any medication, your surgeon will discuss this with you prior to your discharge. Medications may include:

  • Thyroid hormone replacement
  • Calcium and/or vitamin D replacement

Some symptoms may not become evident for two or three days after surgery. If you experience any of the following, call your surgeon or seek medical attention:

  • Numbness and tingling around the lips and hands
  • Increasing pain
  • Fever
  • Swelling
  • Wound discharge
  • Shortness of breath


If a malignancy is identified, thyroid replacement medication may be withheld for several weeks. This allows a radioactive scan to better detect any remaining microscopic thyroid tissue, or spread of malignant cells to lymph nodes or other sites in the body.