After-Effects of Thyroid Cancer Surgery

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Jun 01, 2012

After Effects of Thyroid Cancer Surgery

The thyroid gland located in the lower part of the neck is the main organ responsible for maintaining your body’s energy level. The level of energy in your body is related to your pulse and blood pressure. So, when there is a cancer in this important organ, surgeons usually remove it by performing a surgery. But as all surgical procedures leave behind some damage on the organ of surgery, the same applies to thyroid. These after effects of thyroid cancer surgery can be mild or serious.


Thyroid Cancer Surgery Effects

  • Nausea – Due to surgical procedure which involves giving radioactive iodine for destroying thyroid cancer cells, problem of tenderness in neck and nausea can result.
  • Dry mouth – Thyroid cancer patients feel their mouth dry with a loss of sense of taste. The salivary glands can also swell up or feel sore in some cases. Pain at the spot of surgery and difficulty in swallowing is often complained by patients after surgery.
  • Vocal cords – As the vocal cards are the nearest organ to the thyroid gland, thyroid surgery can damage it. This is more common in patients who receive a thyroidectomy, Such damage can make the patient’s voice hoarse and he may even lose it altogether.
  • Shoulder position – According to National Cancer Institute in USA, if certain muscles get damaged during thyroid cancer, it can cause one of the patient’s shoulders, get lower in position to the other normally positioned shoulder.
  • Tiredness – One of the therapies used for treating thyroid cancer is external radiation therapy. This calls for complete rest but the ironical recommendation from doctors to such patients to be active poses a problem.
  • Reddening of skin – Due to the effect of radiation therapy, the affected area on the skin can become red. It also becomes tender and dry.


According to the American Cancer Society, these complications and damage after thyroid cancer surgery can be minimal if the surgery is carried out by and experienced surgeon. Patients should ensure that the professional they have chosen for their operation has the knowledge of what it takes to prevent or minimise side effects of any sort. Moreover, the patient should also be very careful of the after-care of surgery. It includes making sure the stitches are clean and that they are dressed well. If there is any slip-up in that, there is a great risk of infection.


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