Post Op Instructions – Thyroidectomy


Patients may resume a regular diet without special restrictions. Many patients note a scratchy throat from the endotracheal tube for the first day or two and may prefer soft foods initially.


Light to moderate activity as tolerated is fine. Patients may turn their head from side to side and look up and down without any worry about stitches. Heavy lifting, straining and strenuous exercise should be avoided for at least one week following surgery.


Neck pain and neck stiffness are to be expected. Your physician will prescribe a narcotic pain medication. You may use this as prescribed for severe pain. Do not drive while taking narcotic pain medications. Some patients prefer acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®) for milder pain control. Narcotics can cause constipation; stool softeners such as docusate sodium (Colace®) can be helpful for this. Please contact our office nurse at 908-788-9131 if any redness, increased swelling or increased pain develops at the surgery site.


Patients should resume all regular medications after surgery.

Thyroid replacement medication: If the patient had a total thyroidectomy, (s)he will need to take a thyroid hormone pill. Your physician will prescribe a starting dose for this medication. The dosage may need to be adjusted and is usually monitored by your family doctor or endocrinologist.

Calcium: If the patient had a total thyroidectomy, your physician may recommend taking calcium pills such as Tums® for a few weeks. Call the office at 908-788-9131 and speak with our nurse to report symptoms of tingling or numbness of the fingertips or around the mouth. These are signs of hypocalcemia (low calcium in the blood).


Some patients can experience nausea and/or vomiting after surgery. Your physician may prescribe a medicine for nausea. Call the office at 908-788-9131 and speak with our nurse if this is a problem.


Patients may shower or bathe normally. It is okay to get water on your incision. If you have stitches, it is okay to get them wet. If you have a plastic bandage over your incision, you may get this wet also.