Discharge Instructions for Thyroidectomy
You had surgery called thyroidectomy. This means that part or all of your thyroid gland was removed. The main job of the thyroid gland is to make thyroid hormone. This hormone controls your body’s metabolism. This is the way your body creates and uses energy. Removing the thyroid gland removes your body’s source of thyroid hormone. So after the surgery, you will need to take thyroid hormone pills every day. This helps keep the level of thyroid hormone in your body steady.
Recovering after surgery
Get plenty of rest.
Care for your incision as directed.
Avoid heavy lifting and strenuous activity for 3 to 5 weeks.
Walk a few times daily. But don’t push yourself too hard. Slowly increase your pace and distance, as you feel able.
Return to work when your doctor says it’s OK.
Keep a card in your wallet that lists:
Your name and contact information
Your doctor’s name and contact information
The name of your disease
The brand name and dose of your medicine
Taking your thyroid medicine
Take your medicine as directed.
Use a pillbox labeled with the days of the week. This will help you remember whether you’ve taken your medicine each day.
Take your medicine with a full glass of water and preferably no other food or medicine for at least 1 hour after or 4 hours before taking the pill. The pill needs to reach your stomach and not dissolve in your throat.
Try to take your medicine with the same types and amounts of food and liquid each day. This helps control the amount of thyroid hormone in your system.
After taking your medicine:
Wait 4 hours before eating or drinking anything that contains soy.
Wait 4 hours before taking certain medicine. These include:
Antacids that contain either calcium or aluminum hydroxide
Medicines that lower your cholesterol
Do not stop taking your medicine even if you become pregnant. Your dose may have to be increased during pregnancy.
Never stop taking medicines on your own.
Keeping your doctor’s appointments
See your doctor for regular visits. These are needed to monitor your health.
Have routine blood tests done. These check the level of thyroid hormone in your body. This helps your doctor know whether to adjust the dosage of your medicine if needed. These tests are generally done no more than once every 6 weeks. Later on, you may only need blood tests once a year.
Early after surgery, your calcium level will also need to be checked, particularly if all or most of your thyroid was removed.
Tell your doctor about any signs of further thyroid problems.
Signs that you may have too much thyroid hormone in your body include:
Rapid weight loss
Signs that you may have too little thyroid hormone in your body include:
Fatigue or sluggishness
Puffy hands, face, or feet
Dry, course skin
Slow pulse (less than 60 beats per minute)
When to seek medical care
Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following:
Fever above 100.4°F (38°C)
Swelling or bleeding at the incision site
A sore throat that lasts longer than 7 days
Tingling or cramps in your hands, feet, or lips
March 21, 2017
Initial and reoperative thyroidectomy, Up To Date, Jonklaas, J., Guidelines for the Treatment of Hypothyroidism: Prepared by the American Thyroid Association, Thyroid (2014); 24(12); 1670-1751, Levothyroxine drug information, Up To Date, Management of Thyroid Dysfunction During Pregnancy and Postpartum: An Endocrine Society Clinical Practice Guideline. De Groot, L. The Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism. 2012, is.97, ed.8, s2543-65., McDermott, M., Endocrine Secrets (2005); 4th ed, 152
Fetterman, Anne, RN, BSN,Hurd, Robert, MD