Q. How long after surgery can I resume my usual activities?

A : Depending on what you do for work, many people can go back to light duty in just a few days after surgery. We generally recommend taking at least a full week if your job is more strenuous.

No exercising, lifting greater than 10lbs or doing chores around the house for 7-10 days.

No driving for 3-5 days or any time while you're taking prescription pain medication.

You may shower the night of surgery. No scrubbing or soaking of the incision. Avoid swimming or hot tubs.

We recommend light foods (pudding, jello, soup) the day of surgery. You may resume a normal diet the day after surgery

All blood thinners may be resumed after 7 days.

Q. I'm on blood thinners. Do I need to stop these, and for how long?

A : Yes. You'll need to stop them before surgery and can resume them after 7 days. Many of them need to be stopped for a week prior to surgery but some of the newer agents can be stopped just a few days before. Please discuss the exact details with Dr. Temmermand and the doctor who prescribes them for you.

Q. Is there much pain after thyroid or parathyroid surgery?

A : Surprisingly, no. Most patients tolerate the procedure extremely well. We find that patients will take the narcotic pain medication just a handful of times in the recovery period. Most often, full strength (1000 mg) of Tylenol is enough to cover the discomfort the day after surgery

People usually tell us that their throat is scratchy for 1-2 days as a result of the breathing tube.

Q. Are there risks with thyroid or parathyroid surgery?

A : There are risks with everything we do.

The major risks with any surgery, in general, are pain, infection, bleeding, general anesthesia and cosmetic deformity.

The additional risks with thyroid/parathyroid surgery are injury to the nerves of the voice box and injuries to the parathyroid glands. We will explain this in full detail during your visit.

Q. Will I have to take medication after my thyroid is removed?

A : That depends. If the entire thyroid is removed you'll need to take a hormone replacement. The most common and well tolerated form is a small pill taken 30 minutes before you eat in the morning. We will give you enough medicine until you can see your endocrinologist roughly 1 month after surgery.

When we remove half of the thyroid, occasionally the remaining half isn't producing as much hormone as your body needs and a small supplementation is recommended. Your endocrinologist will work closely with you to help figure this out.

Q. Am I allowed to eat or drink the morning of surgery?

A : The short answer is not after midnight. But the week before surgery a nurse from the anesthesia team will be in touch with you to give you the specific details about eating/drinking before surgery.

Q. Which medications can or should I take before surgery?

A : From a surgical standpoint we need you to be free of blood thinners long enough before surgery for their effects to be reversed. Other medications, such as those for blood pressure or diabetes, should be taken up until the day before surgery. A nurse from the anesthesia team will be in touch with you to give you the specific details about taking medications the day of surgery.

Q. Is thyroid or parathyroid surgery outpatient?

A : Yes. The vast majority of patients will be going home the same day. Only in special circumstances do we ask people to stay in the hospital. We do ask, however, that if you live more than 60 minutes away that you stay in a local hotel the night of surgery.

Q. I was told that my Sestamibi scan would take 3 hours. Is the test that long?

A : No. The test is two parts. There is an initial scan then a repeat after 2 hours. You are free to do whatever you like in the interim.

Q. The tests I went for didn't "see" my abnormal parathyroid gland. What do I do next?

A : No need to worry! It's not uncommon for this happen. In fact, this is most of what Dr. Temmermand is used to. Imaging helps but isn't what expert surgeons rely on. We will still find your bad gland(s) and remove them.

Q. What time is my surgery?

A : It varies. You'll get a phone call the night before with an arrival time for your surgery

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