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I still have an issue 4 weeks post total thyroidectomy (large nodule and hashimotos) that concerns me and I'm not sure if it's normal or not.

Immediately after surgery I felt great. About two weeks after surgery I noticed my scar itself seems to be attached to muscle or something else under the skin, and it always seems to feel like it's pulling upward. I have folds of skin above the scar, yet it's tighter skin on skin lower than the scar, as if it has adhered too high on my neck to the muscles - or whatever - underneath. When I swallow, the scar lifts up and takes literally a second or two to go back down. My surgeon said to give it time, since the scar will soften in a few weeks after sugery, but this seems very strange to me and I'm always aware of it. I also seem to burp more and have a general feeling of less space in my throat (although I can eat and breath fine!), and wondered if it was related. If someone has had this happen post thyroidectomy, please let me know. I can wait for it to heal if it will heal, but want to start looking for a solution with otolaryngologist or plastic surgeon if there's something wrong.

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I have just had a thyroidectomy this week for the same reasons that you noted. I was told that I could have a sore throat up to a month. I feel like it is easier to swallow since the surgery. I have chest pain that seems to get better with drinking more milk and taking a magnesium supplement.

Here is another bit of information that my surgeon told me post-surgery. Some time after the surgery, I will feel fine. However, I will get swelling at the site of the surgery that will be quite swollen. He told me to not be alarmed by this. It will usually resolve in 6-8 weeks. I wonder if this is happening with you?

I hope all goes well for you.
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Thanks for your post. I hope you're feeling better soon. I am noticing less 'effort' is needed when I swallow, but I still feel some pulling. The 'slowness' of the swallowing has improved (not as slow anymore). Another post suggested massaging and I am going to do this a lot more. I also noticed using the silicone strips has helped, especially in minimizing the scar appearance. And suncscreen stick.

One thing I definitely noticed, even though the first week I noticed the space in my throat had improved immediately after surgery and I felt great, was that it seemed to tighten and I felt the swelling about 2-3 weeks post surgery, perhaps when more scar tissue is forming. This lasted another 3 weeks (so far). You might notice the same. It was VERY alarming to feel it get worse weeks after surgery. It's about 7 weeks past now and it is improving. I do think it has adhered or internally stitched to the muscles behind the scar but no massaging was going to change that. Perhaps time and more massage will help that improve. My neck skin is more wrinkled about the scar.

Thanks for your post - I hope you're doing well.
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I had a total thryoidectomy September 5 due to a 1.5cm cancerous nodule. I felt tired and the other things that go with a total thyroidectomy but my throat seemed to get better with time.
It is now 4 months later and it feels like when I swallow my throat at scar level is still tight and also like the food sticks ( like when you have a sore throat).
I can breathe fine it just seems like the scar still pulls and I have a smaller esophagus. Anyone with any input on this is appreciated. The whole cancer thing scares me to death even though they said I am cancer free now.

Thanks and have a great HEALTHY New year,
Roni
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I, too, am four weeks post thyoidectomy. Second time. Removed left lobe with large growth three years ago; removed right lobe with impairing growths four weeks ago. I am now having significant trouble swallowing. Feels like bread dough stuck in my throat. The doctor said the mass was larger than expected, all the way up to my right jaw bone area, and was in a difficult spot to get out. He said there was a lot of scare tissue from 36 months before. I, too, am wondering if the new scar tissue is growing near or on my swallowing and vocal nerves. Anyone else have that problem?
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Wow, yes I too have tightness in my throat when I swallow! Doc says it will go away and it has been improving. I notice though when Im stressed it gets worse like a lump in my throat and it gets hard to breath. I have to slow down and take a deep breath because my throat feels tight. Again, this is normal and will go away. I also used to burp uncontrollably but this went away finally. Thank God my husband loves me! It took a month to return to work and feeling dizzy is very common. Do your breathing excercises!!! I cannot stress this enough. Feeling dizzy will go away after you strengthen your lungs from surgery. The dizziness is from a sympathetic nervous system this is a real term; it causes your heart to race and BP to rise. Not to mention feeling really dizzy because your hyperventilating and don't even know it. Seriously.

My voice is still hoarse though but improving daily. It's my understanding they cut through 4 layers of muscle to get to the thyroid so I guess excercise should be on the agenda. Massage definitely helps my tightness too. Anyone have sore boobs though?? Weird. My scar is very small and I have no swelling but, I also had a specialist / surgeon who does like 500 thyroid surgeries a year, she's quite amazing. If your skin is stuck in weird places get a second opinion that is not normal! The Cleveland Clinic Foundation will give you a FREE second opinion. Go for it! Finally, if your feeling tingly all over your body and your heart is racing take some chewable caltrate pills because it was my calcium that dropped and caused all kinds of issues. Did you know your calcium regulates your heart, muscles etc? It's horrible when you don't have enough. I however am not cancer free yet. I have to have my radiation dose next month and then God willing be free from cancer!! I'm starting a website called LifeAfterThyroidectomy.com if anyone wishes to visit in the near future to blog about their experience for others.
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I also have a tightness in my throat. I am only 1 week post Total Thyroidectomy, but I was really hoping that the swelling and tightness would be gone by 4 weeks. I hope so, but it sounds like that might not be the case.
My doc told me that he does not cut through any muscle. He said that he cuts through the skin and then speads the muscles. Takes more time, but he said that the recovery time is shorter. Hope he's right. He does over 300 thyroidectomies per year, so hopefully he's right. I got my stitches out today and when I asked about the swallowing, he said that that is normal, but should go away within about a week we will see.
I have a hard lump beneath the incision. My doc said that it looks good, so I didn't ask more. Do they fill the cavity where the thyroid was with anything. My wise-cracking brother told me that they fill it in with a play-dough / silly putty type of substance. I know I shouldn't believe him, but I was wondering if anyone else knew the answer to this. BTW....thanks for the post. Someone needs to create a thyroidectomy support group.
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I had a total thyroidectomy on Feb 1st 2008 and it's now been two and a half weeks. I had a mass that was 4cm. At first my scar and the swelling around the incision were just awful, but now the scar is hardly noticable and the swelling is still present. Recently here in Wisconsin we recieved a HUGE amount of snow and I had to shovel... after I shoveled I noticed the same sort of discomfort and pulling I had when I had just gotten out of surgery (similar to what you describe). I then remembered my surgeon telling me that it may take up to a month or so for the stitches inside to disolve and if I do anything too strenuous it will 'pull' on the muscles that they had sewn shut. I hope everything works out for you! :-D
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I just had a full thyroidectomy last week, what was a suspicious biopsy for cancer was in actuality pappilary carcinoma that had spread from the tumor into my thyroid, my lymph nodes along the left side of my neck and the soft tissue along my esophagus and trachea and neck.
My doc feels he got it all but I will being Radioactive Iodine treatment in a few weeks after my new endocrinologist has all my cancer information and we start a low-iodine diet.
Has anyone had the RAI therapy here? What did you do? Could you come home immediately or were you quarantined? I have heard both. I have three children. THey are 16.11 and 7.
I am very concerned. Was anyone else diagnosed with this degree of cancer and spreading?
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3 weeks after surgery.My swallow has worsened.Waitin to see doc.My scar area seems to have filled with fluid.I had my left thyroid removed and awaiting histology report.otherwise feelin great.Night sweats gone sleeping better.[
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I had a complete thyroidectomy a little over a month ago. Latest biopsies were suspicious and I had a 2.6 cm nodule on right, small one on left. Proved to be Papillary Cancer. Finally after over a year of headaches, they were gone. TG.
Several biopsies last year were 85% sure I didn't have thyroid cancer. After further scans however, (catch 22) last August I was diagnosed with inoperable non-small cell lung cancer in both lungs. My theory is that a lot of what is in my lungs may be in fact mestasisized thyroid cancer cells. I am going for RAI treatments next week after having been on a low iodine diet for a month (ugh) and am off my Cytomel (short-term thyroid replacement) My oncologist had wanted to do more chemo because he said it appears that my lung cancer has progressed. I think it is because I just had the thyroidectomy. I will be putting my chemo off for a little over a month. But if my theory is correct, it will be worth it. Doing RAI at home, husband moving to cottage for a few days, children all grown and gone. Hope it works.
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I too had total thyroidectomy, just over two weeks now. felt great for a while, got slight numbness in toes one night, took calcium, half hour later numbness was gone. But I too got a lump of fluid, went to doc because it was getting too big, he decided to do an outpatient drain, he went in through the incision and filled a syringe with blood and tissue, he put me on antibiotics, lump has started coming back, harder this time but not filling as fast, but I still don't like how it feels and looks, I'm also having a lot of pain with swallowing on the left side, which was my better side;, when they did the surgery, because of previous cervical (spinal) surgery I had a lot of scar tissue in there, the night of my surgery I had a lot of pain on that side also. so not sure where the swelling is coming from or why, but the pathology came back ok, there were more nodules than originally thought the right side had a very large nodule also. So not sure if any of this swelling is normal, but going to double check and call doc on monday, Not scheduled with original thyroid doc till Nov, so that's a long time to go..if anyone else has had to have it drained like that did it help or did you have to go back, would love to hear from you 8-|
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Posted by mysteerain719, registered after post
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I had thyroidectomy end of August, followed by month of no replacement hormone, RAI diet, and radioactive iodine therapy last week. During this past month I have experienced the same swelling, tightness, sore throat, etc. described by most of the posts above. It was so bad a week after surgery I went to ER thinking there must be infection or other complication. They sent me home after some bloodwork saying "it just takes time." Being totally impatient, I found out about a specialized form of physical therapy called lymphadema which has now made a HUGE difference for me. I have been for about 5 sessions, during which the therapist showed me a special technique for very lightly massaging skin to stimulate drainage of lymphatic fluid (it is something you could never figure out for yourself, although it is easy after you learn the technique). She also gave me several neck and shoulder stretching exercises and showed me ways to slowly (and very gently moving down the length of the incision) stretch and massage the scar. That has really loosened up the feeling of it's being attached to the muscle. She explained we are gradually stretching the fibers to make them long and stringy, getting rid of the glued on feeling but also eventually allowing them to break loose if necessary. Bottom line: it has been fantastic how much improvement this therapy has made (luckily my insurance has covered it but I would recommend going at least a couple of times even if you have to pay just to learn these specialized techniques). Be sure you find a therapist who does this particular type, not orthopedic PT which is totally different. Most major medical centers should offer this service. Good luck to us all!
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i completely understand. my tightness seemed to be from the inside, sometimes like a lump. moreso on the right. when i became pregnant it got even worse and at one pointt when i was working alot i couldnt swallow solid foods. while i was waiting for an ENT consult and speech path i went and got lymphatic massage and acupuncture. both helped alot. ent and speech path couldnt help (ent found nothing wrong anatomically after i did acupuncture, etc and i couldnt get some of the normal studies due to being preg). the acupuncturist called this plum seed cyst and was not surprised by it. i have gotten 4 treatments now. i have also started pepcid ac and am monitoring my allergies better (in case it was due to mucus etc). that, with a lot of prayer has brought me to where i am now and it is completely better now 2 weeks later. oh, the acupuncturist also has me on homeopathy which seems harmless. good luck to you all!

ps- my doc stated that this happens sometimes and it never results in complete closure of the throat. signs of obstruction are drooling and spitting up food you ate
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