An operation to remove part or all of the thyroid gland may be recommended for a number of reasons, which are outlined in the previous sections.
In my personal practice, the majority of people who need an operation to remove half of the thyroid gland (thyroid lobectomy) can go home the same day as their surgery (day-case surgery). If the entire thyroid gland is removed (total thyroidectomy) then most people can go home the day after surgery.
Operations on the thyroid are usually performed under general anaesthetic and involve a horizontal scar across the lower part of the neck. Mr Hardy always makes the scar as small as possible, often 4-5cm in length, and placed along a crease line in the skin whenever possible. These factors ensure that for most patients the scar will fade to a barely visible white line over time. In addition I only use drains (tubes coming through the skin near the wound) in exceptional cases, compared to many surgeons performing thyroid surgery.
There is very little specific care needed at home after thyroid surgery performed by myself because I always use sutures (stitches) that dissolve and do not need to be removed, along with simple wound dressing strips that peel off after around a week.
Recovery after thyroid surgery is usually fairly rapid, and people are often back to work and normal activities within 1-2 weeks after surgery.
Thyroid surgery is very safe. Any operation has the potential to lead to complications, however. These complications are outlined in the next section. There is, furthermore, evidence to suggest that complications are less likely to occur in operations performed by specialist surgeons who perform such surgery frequently.