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Total Thyroidectomy


A total thyroidectomy is surgery to remove all of your thyroid gland. You may have a sore throat, hoarse voice, or difficulty swallowing after surgery. It is normal to have these problems for up to 6 months after a total thyroidectomy.

Thyroid and Parathyroid Glands


Seek care immediately if:

  • You have sudden tingling or muscle cramps in your face, arm, or leg.
  • You have muscle spasms in your legs and feet that do not go away.
  • You have sudden abdominal pain.
  • Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
  • Your incision comes apart, or blood soaks through your bandage.
  • You have sudden swelling in your neck or difficulty swallowing.
  • You suddenly feel lightheaded and short of breath.
  • You have chest pain when you take a deep breath or cough, or you cough up blood.

Contact your endocrinologist or surgeon if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You have pain in your surgery area that does not go away after you take pain medicine.
  • You lose weight, feel very nervous and hungry, and sweat for no reason.
  • You feel very tired and cold, gain weight for no reason, and your skin is very dry.
  • You vomit several times in a row.
  • Your skin is itchy, swollen, or has a rash.
  • Your incision is swollen, red, or has pus coming from it.
  • You have new voice weakness or hoarseness, or it is getting worse.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


  • Thyroid hormone will replace the hormone your thyroid would have produced. You will need to take this medicine every day.
  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely. Some prescription pain medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not take other medicines that contain acetaminophen without talking to your healthcare provider. Too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Prescription pain medicine may cause constipation. Ask your healthcare provider how to prevent or treat constipation.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your endocrinologist or surgeon as directed:

You may need to return to have your bandage changed, drains removed, or more tests. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Wound care:

Check the wound every day for signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or pus. Carefully wash your skin near the incision wound area with soap and water. Dry the area and put on new, clean bandages as directed. Change your bandages when they get wet or dirty. You can use a mild body lotion to improve the scar.


Ask your endocrinologist if you need to take calcium or vitamin D and how much to take.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.