You will have some bruising around the incision and the area may swell within the first several days after thyroid surgery. The scar that remains will be permanent, and may fade over time. The area around the scar will be sensitive to sunlight and may need to be covered when going outside for several months to a year following your operation.
Your surgeon will alert you to the care of your wound. You will have the area dry for at around 48-72 hours following surgery for a thyroid condition. Once the initial period is over, taking a shower is usually okay if you feel comfortable standing or getting in and out of a bathtub.
After Thyroid Surgery
Your neck and most likely your entire shoulder area will be stiff and sore for several weeks following your thyroid surgery. During the initial period directly after surgery you should avoid doing anything physical. Along with the pain from the actual surgery, your doctor will prescribe pain relieving drugs after your thyroid surgery. These drugs will make you groggy and lower your responsiveness.
Before trying anything that involves large equipment or bending and twisting after surgery you should make sure you are totally comfortable moving about the house. It can take two to three weeks before you regain the ability to move easily without pain.
Take it Slow Following Your Surgery
It is important to understand that while routine, thyroid surgery is a major operation. Give yourself time to recover after having surgery. If you are under duress and worrying about your job or finances, talk to a relative, physician or seek aid. You will need the time to rest and recuperate as well as having some physical therapy after thyroid surgery to help regain flexibility in your shoulders and neck.
While the time it takes to recover after thyroid surgery is different for everybody, rest assured that you should have no trouble returning to all of your normal activities once recovery is complete. As a general rule of thumb, most patients can return to work and mild exercise in two to three weeks unless lymph nodes were involved in the operation. If lymph nodes were also removed during the surgery it can take several weeks longer to fully recover and return to light activities. Heavy labour or contact sports should be avoided for longer in both cases and your physician will be able to guide you in deciding when it is okay to return to such activities.
If you have questions or concerns about thyroid problems see your local doctor who will arrange for you to see a thyroid surgeon.
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