Thyroid Surgery

Things to do:

  • Medications: Take your pain medication only as instructed. Be sure to take these with food to reduce stomach problems. These may cause drowsiness, nausea, or constipation. Do not take additional Tylenol, as the pain medication usually has Tylenol in it. Do not drive while on pain medications. You may be given thyroid or calcium supplemental medication as well. Please take all medications as instructed.
  • Wound Care: There may be a drain placed in your neck after surgery. The surgical nurses will instruct you on the care of that drain. If there is no drain, then the day after surgery you may remove the dressing. Usually a clear dressing is placed over the incision. This dressing protects the incision site. You may shower the day after surgery and just pat the area to dry. No baths until wound completely healed (usually in 2 weeks).
  • Diet: Patients who have received general anesthesia may experience some stomach upset and occasionally vomiting. It is good to eat a light or liquid diet on the first day after surgery. A regular diet may be resumed the next day.
  • Activity: Elevate your head at all times for the first 4-5 days after surgery, even while sleeping. Light activity, such as walking, is fine. However, there should be no strenuous activity (exercising, etc) for 2 weeks following the surgery.
  • Follow up: If a drain is placed during surgery, then you will come back to the office the following day for the drain to be removed. If there is no drain, then the doctor will usually want to see you back in the office one week after surgery.


Things NOT to do:

  • Do not drive until you have good range of motion to your neck, and not using pain medication.

  • Do not lift anything heavier than 15 pounds for one week.

  • Do not do any strenuous activity/exercising for 2 weeks.

  • Avoid straining with bowel movements – you may need to get an over-the-counter stool softener.

  • Do not take aspirin, ibuprofen products (Motrin, Aleve, Advil, etc) or any other medications that may make you bleed easily one week before surgery and one week after surgery. If you are uncertain call your pharmacist or the nurse.

  • Avoid direct sunlight to the area to avoid further scarring.

Please do not hesitate to call if you have any questions or problems. Call our office if you have excessive bleeding, swelling, increased warmth or redness at surgical site, drainage at surgical site, fever greater than 102 F, severe pain not relieved by pain medication, continued nausea and vomiting, shortness of breath, tingling or cramps in your hands, feet or lips or any other concerns.

Robert Wilson, MD.