Hemi thyroidectomy imminent!

Hi everyone,

I’m a bit nervous about posting on here but I just wanted some post surgery advice…

I am 25, and recently found out I have a Thy4 nodule (that I have called Terry!) and am due to have my Hemi Thyroidectomy next Thursday. My pre-op is in a couple of days but just wanted some advice from others on what their best advice is post surgery… How long was your recovery? What worked best for you for a comfortable-ish recovery etc? 

I’m feeling okay on the whole, as I just want Terry taken out, but I am starting to get a bit nervous as the date comes closer. 

Thank you everyone x 

  • My lump was called Ludovic. So I understand your Terry situation. I can't do the 'hate the lump' bit when my body made it and it was part of me. 
    I had a hemi too - then a completion 4 weeks later. 
    My stitch was out after a week and I was driving again after that. I took paracetamol for just a few days and was surprised to find I have a higher pain threshold than I expected.
    A friend 'guilt tripped' my mum into coming to stay and help out, but to be honest, I didn't need any extra support. 

    We are ALL different. I might bounce back in a week and another person could be struggling 6 months later. There are no targets to meet with these things. Listen to your body. Expect to be a bit more tired than normal (they say it takes up to 2 weeks just to flush all the anaesthetic out of your system) and you'll be running on half a thyroid which you won't be used to.

    I always recommend V-shaped pillows to support your neck in bed. 

    Good luck and farewell to Terry.

    Best wishes


    “Scars are tattoos with better stories.” – Anonymous

  • Thank you so much! Two hearts

  • Hey Rosie!

    Thought I was the only one that named my nodule! I called mine Angus!! :D I had a hemi thyroidectomy 4 weeks ago now and I asked a similar question pre my surgery. Such helpful advice was shared so posting the link here if you want to take a look. https://community.macmillan.org.uk/cancer_types/thyroid-cancer-forum/f/thyroid-cancer-forum/238820/surgery-preparation-and-post-surgery-advice 

    Recovery-wise I was off work for 2 weeks, then went back at 50%hrs and now just gone back to 100%hrs this week. Re being comfortable I think just taking it easy, sitting up in a chair with a back when eating and being mindful of planning any socialising post op as your throat gets super tired from talking. 

    I think the main discomfort for me though (which I kind of wish I was more aware of pre op) was the feeling of tightness and soreness in the throat. I found I had a constant feeling that there's something lodged in my throat and it felt really difficult to do typical actions like yawn, speak, burp, cough which was really scary. Understand it's totally normal and think a lot of people experience this, but I hadn't realised quite how uncomfortable it was going to be. I found taking paracetamol helped and drinking lots of warm drinks.

    Hope that helps! :)

  • Hi - Haha Angus, I like that one! Thank you so much, I really appreciate your advice and will take a look at the link now Blush 

    I hope your recovery is going well x 

  • Hi I’ve got my op on 5th July. Is it normally a day surgery case and discharged same day? So nervous 

  • It might be different in other countries, but a hemi is usually an overnight stay in UK hospitals.  Completion (or total) thyroidectomies may be two nights (so they can test your calcium levels don't drop).

    Best wishes


    “Scars are tattoos with better stories.” – Anonymous

  • Thanks. I’m in Scotland and was surprised it’s a day case. I have to report to the day surgery unit and they aim to discharge dinner time. Seems very quick 

  • I’ve been told the Hemi surgery is supposed to be a day case but that they do tend to keep people in overnight so have told me to pack an overnight bag. It is a bit unclear x 

  • Hi

    • I’ve had hemi then completion 3 months after. Both surgeries were very different. The first surgery, the half with the cancer, was painful and I couldn’t speak for a couple of days (my voice still hasn’t recovered). I was in hospital for 2 nights mainly because the drain they put in my neck was still needed (sorry!) The second surgery was much much easier and I was dreading it. There was no pain hardly and my voice wasn’t affected more, I was in hospital overnight but checked my bloods several times before they let me go. I think my first surgery was worse because they took much more tissue out - I had a large lump in my neck. 
      I’ve had surgeries for other things and the thyroidectomy certainly wasn’t the worst! Try not to worry and I hope all goes well for you.
  • Hi Rosie.

    My lump was called Richard. I had a total thyroidectomy on the 19th May.

    Recovery wise, I felt better immediately post-surgery. As Richard was so large, and my thyroid size fluctuated due to Graves disease, the contrast between pre-surgery and post-surgery was huge. Prior to surgery my speech had become more difficult and I was on a purely liquid diet. About an hour after surgery, I was eating crisps and a sandwich.

    I was discharged at about 9am the day after surgery, but my surgery hadn't taken place until after 4:30pm so time wise it was really just over half a day. I didn't have a drain I my wound though and my stitches were all internal so i suspect this also allowed me to be discharged quicker.

    I was able to attend a family BBQ the day after surgery with no difficulties. I had had very limited movement in my neck prior to surgery but post-surgery I had lots of movement. It was about 4 days before I could fully turn my neck. I was able to drive after 5 days. I did have a few problems after day 8 because I became too hyperthyroid due to the dose of levothyroxine being too high for me, but that was not to do with the surgery. I probably could have gone back to work immediately but my boss made me stay off :) I also had no pain at all post-surgery. I didn't even need to take a paracetamol.

    Everyone's experience seems to be quite different and there are so many factors that influence it. Good luck on your surgery and it'd be lovely to hear how you are doing once you are out the other side.