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Thyroid Removal Side Effects : What Happens When Thyroid is Removed?

Thyroid gland is a part of the endocrine system which helps our body regulates the metabolism. It is a butterfly-shaped gland located inside the front of the lower neck. Under certain conditions, doctors may advise an individual for thyroid removal or thyroid gland removal which requires the surgery to remove all or a part of the gland. Usually thyroid removal is done so as to treat small thyroid growth or nodules/cyst, or in case of thyroid cancer, or if a person has an overactive thyroid gland which may be dangerous, etc. Though thyroid surgery is generally considered safe by most doctors, at times patients undergoing the surgery may experience some kind side effects after thyroid removal. In this current article of ours, we will talk about what happens when thyroid is removed. We will also talk about few of the tips to cope up from the side effects of thyroid removal procedure. Hope this would be a beneficial read for you.

Thyroid Removal Side Effects

Thyroid Removal Side Effects: What Happens When Thyroid is Removed?

It is obvious that every major surgery including the thyroid removal surgery carries some side effects, apart from the adverse reaction to general anaesthesia before the surgery. In this section we will talk about some of the possible side effects of thyroid removal procedure.

  1. Hoarse Voice-A Side Effect of Thyroid Removal

    It is possible that after the surgery the patient may have a hoarse voice, especially if a nerve supplying your voice box is damaged during the operation procedure. After thyroid removal surgery, your voice may sound somewhat different. There may be difficulty making high pitched sounds and your voice may become hoarse. However, this side effect of thyroid removal may go away in few weeks in most cases, however, in about 1 out of 100 people, the voice change after the thyroid removal surgery may be permanent.

  2. Drop in the Thyroid Hormone Levels on Removal of Thyroid

    One more side effect of thyroid removal surgery, especially if you have had your whole thyroid removed is that you will have a drop in your thyroid hormone level and you will have to go for thyroid hormone replacement therapy. You might have to take thyroxine tablets so as to replace the thyroid hormones that your thyroid gland would normally prepare. It is essential for the body to have thyroid hormones so as to keep the body processes going on at the right rate or so as to continue the process of body’s metabolism. With these hormones you feel tired and lack energy. So thyroxine tablets may be prescribed at times by your doctor after the thyroid removal procedure. At times, it may be possible that you might need to take these tablets even if you had only a part of your thyroid removed.

  3. Drop in Calcium Level- A Thyroid Removal Side Effect

    There may also be a negative effect to the parathyroid glands after the thyroid removal surgery. These glands are located right next to the thyroid glands and they help in controlling the calcium level in your blood. There may be a severe fall of the calcium levels in the body in case the parathyroid glands are not working properly. There may be jerking muscles, twitching or muscle spasms in the body in case you have low calcium level. You may be prescribed with calcium tablets after the thyroid removal procedure. Though low calcium levels after the operation is temporary, in some people it may be a permanent side effect.

  4. Wound Infection May be a Possibility on Removal of Thyroid

    Though unusual in most cases, yet there may be wound infection after the thyroid removal surgery. It is essential to prevent any infection once you are at home after the surgery. Below are some of the things you need to keep a note after the surgery so as to prevent self from wound infection.

    • Leave you dressings in place unless your doctor tells to remove them
    • Keep your neck wound clean and dry till it gets totally healed.
    • Do not go swimming till your wound is healed completely
    • Do not put pressure on the wound.
  5. Possible Neck Related Side Effects of Thyroid Removal

    There may also be swelling, numbness and pain in the neck after thyroid removal surgery. It is essential to take soft diet during these times.

  6. Mental Health Side Effects of Thyroid Removal Procedure

    One may also experience some negative effects on the mental health after the surgery. Some patient may experience depression, anxiety, stress etc before or after the surgical procedure. This is natural to be seen in all types of operations.

  7. Prolonged Recovery Period

    Apart from all the side effects of thyroid removal surgery we mentioned above, there are some side effects which are usually common to be experienced after all kinds of operations. Your body would take time to recover and the wound to heal. There may be pain and stiffness around the neck because of the surgery. You may be prescribed with some pain killers so as help with the pain after the surgery.

Essential Tips to Cope Up With the Side Effects of Thyroid Removal:

Here in this section we will talk about some of the tips so as to help you cope up with the side effects of thyroid removal procedures

  • We discussed earlier that after your thyroid removal surgery, you may have difficulty in swallowing. It is essential for you to rely of soft and healthy foods.
  • You can use more sauces and gravies, or the more of the moist foods after the surgery; which would be easier to swallow as compared to the dry foods.
  • Go for long and slow cooking so as to soften the meat and vegetables you prepare for your diet.
  • Chop the vegetables or meat finely before or after cooking.
  • Apart from this, take healthy and nutritious diet so as to help self with healing. Talk to a dietician for your appropriate diet after the thyroid removal.
  • Using Aloe vera, Bio-oil to soften the skin around the wound and prevent dryness while its healing period can be beneficial.
  • You can also use non scented moisturising cream to your scar once your wound is healed.
  • Talk to your doctor and take prescribed medications in case you have high fever, swollen or painful neck and also in case of infection.


So above we talked about the possible side effects of the thyroid removal surgery and also talked about the essential tips to cope up with the side effects of the surgery. Kindly talk to your doctor or surgeon for the best advices that would help you come out of the side effects of the surgery at a quicker and effective way. Also talk to your doctor about the possible side effects before the surgery for best knowledge on the same.


  1. American Thyroid Association – Thyroid Surgery: https://www.thyroid.org/thyroid-surgery/
  2. Mayo Clinic – Thyroidectomy: https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/thyroidectomy/about/pac-20385161
  3. MedlinePlus – Thyroid Surgery: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002933.htm

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 1, 2023

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