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Recovery Tracker

Get Well Soon

Helping you make a speedy recovery after a thyroidectomy

Recovery Tracker

Days/Weeks Post Op How you might feel Things you can do safely Fit to work?
1 - 3 days
  • Swelling and discomfort on your neck.
  • Some difficulty swallowing solid foods.
  • A small drain will be attached to your wound to prevent fluid building up.
  • Your voice may be a little husky for the first few days.
  • You may feel groggy from the anaesthetic.
  • You should be able to swallow fluids an hour or so after surgery.
  • At first, nursing staff will check your wound daily and clean it as necessary. Once the drains and clips have been removed, you will be able to bath or shower as normal.
  • After a day or two, you will probably be up and walking around the ward. You may be given some gentle neck exercises to do to prevent stiffness.
  • You will also have blood tests to test your levels of Thyroxine.
  • By day 3 or 4, the clips and drains will normally be removed.
4 - 14 days
  • Most people will be well enough to go home after about 4 days.
  • Bruising and soreness around your wound will improve and you should be free of pain after about a week. You will be prescribed medication to relieve any pain.
  • You should expect to feel tired as your neck heals.
  • Get up, get dressed as normal, move about the house.
  • Continue with any exercises for your neck that have been recommended by your surgeon or nurses. Move your neck gently for the first week or so.
  • As the pain goes away, you can start to return to solid foods. 
  • If you feel tired, rest until your strength returns.
  • Gradually build up the amount of activity you do each day.
  • Wash and shower as normal, keeping your wound clean.
  • Using an unscented moisturising cream such as E45 will help to keep the wound soft.
  • Massaging the scar will help it flatten. Use unscented sun block to cover up your scar, otherwise the new skin will tan a different shade to the rest of your skin.
Not just yet 
2 - 4 weeks
  • Your neck should now be free of pain, and you can expect to be able to move it as normal.
  • The scar may still have some redness but don’t worry - this will fade over the coming months.
  • Continue to massage and moisturise the scar.
  • Test your fitness to drive using the exercise on the driving page.
  • Most people find they are ready to return to work after about 2 weeks if they have a desk job that does not involve a lot of physical activity.
  • For people whose jobs involve heavy lifting, or standing up for long periods (if you work in a shop, for example), it is sensible to wait for up to 4 weeks before returning to work.
6 weeks Around this time, you’ll probably have an outpatients appointment for a blood test - to check the thyroxine levels in your blood.

If you haven’t had any complications to do with your surgery, and you’re still off work, it’s possible that you’re feeling anxious about returning to work and could do with a bit of help from your GP and your employer. Talk to them both about a gradual return to work.

If you’re off for too long, there’s a risk of developing problems to do with anxiety, isolation, and lack of confidence. These could affect your quality of life in the long term. Talk to your doctor about how best to avoid this becoming a problem for you.


Caring for your scar

Keep the wound soft using an unscented moisturising cream. Massaging the scar will help it flatten. Use unscented sun block to cover the scar, otherwise the new skin will tan a different shade to the rest of your skin.



When can I have sex?

For many people, being able to have sex again is an important milestone in their recovery. There are no set rules or times about when it’s safe to do so other than whether it feels OK to you - treat it like any other physical activity and build up gradually.


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