The thyroid gland on the lower neck produces hormones that control metabolism. Benign or malignant thyroid tumors can develop and be seen as lumps on the neck. Malignant tumors can cause hoarseness, lymph node enlargement, pain and difficulty breathing.
A throidectomy is a 3- to 4-hour procedure done under general anesthesia. An incision is made below the collarbone where it can heal well with minimal scarring and provide safe access to identify laryngeal nerves and remove any tumor tissue. The incision will be closed with nylon sutures that are removed four to six days after surgery. A drain may be placed during surgery that will be removed one to two days after surgery.
You will be able to eat a liquid and soft diet for a few days after surgery. In some cases, patients will cough immediately after drinking. If you experience this, try thicker liquids or pudding-consistency foods. If this continues or you develop chest pain or a fever, contact your doctor. If your vocal cords are weak after the surgery, a speech pathologist can help select the appropriate diet to strengthen your vocal cords.