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Alabama Nasal and Sinus Center
St. Vincent 's Health and Wellness
7191 Cahaba Valley Road,
Suite 301
Birmingham, Al 35242
Phone: (205) 980-2091

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Postoperative Instructions for Thyroidectomy/Parathyroidectomy/Other Head and Neck

1.   You may have throat discomfort and hoarseness for 3-5 days following surgery. A humidifier or vaporizer may be used in the bedroom to decrease throat pain.
2.   Take pain medication as prescribed. It is OK to substitute Tylenol if the pain medication is too strong or causes nausea. It is important to stay well hydrated after surgery. Constipation is a common side effect of pain medications. If this is a problem for you, take a mild laxative. Avoid straining with bowel movements.
3.   Take all of your routine medications as prescribed, unless told otherwise by your physician.
4.   Be on the look out for signs/symptoms of hypocalcemia (low or dropping blood calcium levels). If you experience numbness and tingling around your lips and/or fingertips and/or muscle pain or cramping in your extremities, begin taking two Tums tablets by mouth with each meal, and notify your physician. We will likely get a blood test to confirm low calcium level.
5.   There are no diet restrictions. However, alcohol consumption and tobacco use are not recommended as these substances can actually compromise wound healing.
6.   No heavy lifting (nothing more than 10 lbs), no bending or stooping to lift, and no vigorous exercise until cleared by your physician. No airline travel for two weeks after surgery.
7.   If at any time you experience difficulty breathing or chest tightness/pain, seek emergency care immediately.
8.   Showering is allowed immediately after surgery. Your incision is sealed with a tissue glue which will gradually peel off over the next few weeks.
9.   Signs of a post-operative infection, which may occur within the first 2 weeks after surgery, include fever to 101.5, redness and swelling at the surgical site, and foul-smelling drainage from the incision line. If any of these signs develop, contact your doctor at 205-980-2091.
10.   After surgery, patients are typically seen in the office 7-10 days later to inspect the incision, to review the pathology report and to discuss whether any further testing or treatment are necessary