Neck surgery, Thyroidectomy, Parathyroidectomy
1. These instructions are general instructions for any surgery in the neck. Your surgeon may provide specific verbal instructions depending on the type of surgery.
2. ACTIVITY: Avoid any lifting greater than 10 lbs or strenuous activity that may raise your blood pressure for 2 weeks.
3. PAIN: You may be prescribed narcotic pain medication to your pharmacy. Pain can be mild in the first 24 – 48 hours, but usually declines thereafter. The sooner you reduce your narcotic medication use, the more rapid your recovery. As your pain lessens, try using extra strength acetaminophen (Tylenol) instead of the narcotic medication. Do not drive or operate machinery while taking the narcotic pain medication.
4. INCISION: Skin glue or sutures may be used to close the incision. If sutures are used, keep the incision dry for 2 to 3 days. You may then get the incision wet briefly (no submerging in water) but do not let the shower directly stream onto the incision. Pat the area dry after. You may use Q tips dipped in peroxide to clean any dried blood over the skin around the incision. Antibiotic ointment may be recommended by your surgeon. NOTE: If skin glue was used to close your incision, then no skin care is needed.
5. DRAIN: Some patients are discharged home with a thin drain tube and oval collecting reservoir. This will be removed at your first postoperative appointment. You may be instructed to empty the reservoir and record the amount of fluid whenever it looks two-thirds full. If expected, your recovery room nurse will go over instructions. Discard the fluid in the sink or toilet.
6. HEAD OF BED: Please elevate the head of your bed 30 degrees or sleep in a recliner at 30-45 degrees for the first 3 days. The skin above the incision may look swollen after lying down for a few hours. This is normal. If swelling around the incision increases, please call the office.
7. DIET: You may resume a regular diet after surgery. It is very important to hydrate well at this time.
8. HYPOCALEMIA: The patient may experience a low calcium after surgery (Thyroid or Parathyroid). Symptoms could include: numbness (especially around the mouth) or abnormal muscle cramping. You may need to take extra calcium (Tums or prescribed calcium supplement) with a synthetic vitamin D after surgery. Your surgeon will discuss if this is likely. Call our office or your endocrinologist if this happens.
9. VOICE: The patients voice may be weak after thyroid or parathyroid surgery (10-30%). This is usually temporary and less than 5% have some permanent voice changes. If this occurs, do not overuse/strain your voice. Your vocal cords will be checked at your first post op appointment.