A postoperative consultation with the surgeon is scheduled to assess healing and recovery. The patient often receives a sick leave. Its duration depends on the patient’s professional situation and general health. It usually varies between 10 and 21 days.
Sport and leisure activities can only be resumed after complete healing. In addition, full recovery of neck mobility is required before driving again.
If it has been confirmed that the nodule is cancerous, additional treatment may be prescribed, in particular if the recurrence risk is considered high, with the administration of iodine 131. Radioactive iodine treatment aims to eliminate any remaining cancerous cells after the operation. The radioactive nature of this treatment requires hospitalization in a specialized unit.
Treatment and recovery assessment
After surgery, to compensate for the absence of thyroid (and sometimes in the case of partial removal), it is necessary to take synthetic thyroid hormones. This treatment, called thyroxine, comes in the form of a tablet to be taken once a day upon hospital discharge. It is important to find the right dosage that ensures a good hormonal balance (measured by the level of TSH or thyroid stimulating hormone). Once the right dosage has been found, a blood test is only required once a year to monitor the treatment.
A check-up is usually performed 9 to 12 months after surgery. It allows to confirm that there is no recurrence of thyroid cancer. If no abnormalities are detected during the various tests performed, the risk of subsequent recurrence is very low.