After Thyroid Surgery (Thyroidectomy)

Once your thyroid problems are under control, you can get back to doing the things you like to do. To keep feeling good, follow your doctor’s instructions closely. Take your medications or hormone pills every day. And see your doctor for regular checkups.

Health care provider examining woman's neck.

While you’re healing

  • Your surgeon may ask you not to get your incision area wet for a few days after your surgery.

  • Avoid strenuous physical activity for a few weeks, and don’t return to work until your doctor says it’s OK.

  • Within a week or so, you may visit the surgeon or your primary care provider to have your incision checked. If you still have surgical staples or sutures, they may be removed then. Your incision will be red and raised at first, but it will probably flatten out and fade in about 6 months.

  • After your surgery, you may need to take thyroid hormone pills. These pills replace the hormone that your thyroid used to make.

In the years to come

  • If you’ve been given thyroid hormone or other medications, take your pills regularly to help keep your thyroid hormones at the right levels and your body running smoothly.

  • See your doctor as directed for regular blood tests. These tests confirm that your hormone pills or medications arestill at a dose that’s right for you.

  • If you have a nodule, monitoring may be necessary to check for changes in its size or for the appearance of additional nodules.

  • If you’ve had treatment for cancer, regular exams help catch it early if it returns.

When to call the doctor

Call your doctor if you notice any of these signs, or any other problems:

  • Swelling or bleeding at the incision site

  • Fever or tenderness

  • A sore throat that continues beyond 3 weeks

  • Tingling or cramps in the hands, feet, or lips