Head & Neck

What to Expect Before & After Thyroid Surgery

January 4, 2023
What to Expect Before After Thyroid Surgery

A thyroidectomy is the surgical removal of the thyroid gland, performed here to treat a number of different diseases including thyroid cancer, thyroid enlargement, hyperthyroidism, and thyroid lumps in Singapore. The procedure can either remove a part of the thyroid, which may not affect normal organ functioning, or you might have your entire thyroid removed.

If you have been exhibiting symptoms like a swelling in your neck, heart palpitations, patchy hair loss, or weight loss, you might have a thyroid disorder. This may be diagnosed via a blood test, a physical examination which may include a nose and throat scope (nasoendoscopy), ultrasound of the thyroid, thyroid hormone levels, and a needle biopsy (fine needle aspiration and cytology). If you do have a thyroid disorder and a surgery has been ordered, then you might be wondering how best to prepare for the procedure and what you can expect after.

Before The Procedure-thyroid surgery in Singapore

Before The Procedure

There are several steps that will be taken before a thyroid surgery in Singapore. A pre-operative evaluation will be conducted to identify any issues that may lead to complications This evaluation will involve blood tests, Electrocardiograms to check your heart function, X-rays, and other imaging studies to have a clear visualisation of the thyroid.

This is also an opportunity for you to ask your ENT specialist doctor any questions you may have. Some important information you might need include any medications you are currently taking and whether you need to stop taking them before the surgery. Certain medications can interfere with the surgery and cause complications so it’s best to ask about anything you’re unsure about.

Your doctor will also inform you about fasting the night before. You might be required to not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before.

Learn More: 8 Common Conditions ENT Specialists In Singapore Treat

After The Procedure

After a thyroidectomy, you will have a 5-8 cm scar on your neck, above the collarbone. The scar will lighten over time and in some cases may be hardly visible after 6-12 months. Patients will likely have a drain (small tube) extending from their neck with an attached bottle.

The purpose of the drain is to prevent accumulation of body fluid or blood in the neck after the procedure. It is usually removed at the bedside 2-3 days after the surgery. If your thyroid lump is big or if your surgery was complicated, your voice may be weak and hoarse afterwards. Most of the time this is temporary and will recover in 2-3 months.

Before leaving the hospital you will be given instructions for recovery, prescriptions to medications you might need, and a follow-up appointment will be scheduled with the ENT clinic in Singapore.

For at least up to three weeks after your surgery, you should avoid any heavy lifting or any physical activity that might strain your neck. Soaking or scrubbing the incision site is also discouraged for at least one week to allow for proper healing. You can shower after a day or so, but do exercise caution in keeping the incision site dry.

After The Procedure-thyroid surgery in Singapore

While you can go home after a thyroidectomy, you should be given at least two weeks off work to fully recover. During this time consult your doctor immediately if you notice any swelling in your neck which could signify an infection.

Calcium levels in your body may be affected due to the surgery. This can cause numbness and tingling around your fingers and around your mouth. This is a well known aftereffect and your ENT specialist doctor will monitor your calcium levels via blood tests and prescribe calcium replacements as required.

If your entire thyroid gland was removed during the surgery, then you might need to take lifelong thyroid replacements. These are the same medications that are prescribed to patients with an underactive thyroid.

It can feel overwhelming preparing for a procedure like a thyroid surgery. But knowing the steps you need to take in the days leading up to it, and what to expect in the weeks after, can help improve the chances of success. If you’re not sure about anything or if you have questions, your doctor is the best person to ask for help or advice.

A fellowship-trained Consultant Ear, Nose, and Throat Surgeon, Dr Gan Eng Cern is an ENT specialist doctor in Singapore who provides high-quality and compassionate medical care to patients presenting with a number of different conditions. Reach out to us via our contact us page today to make an appointment with our clinic.

    When Should You See an ENT Specialist in Singapore?

    • Any ear, nose or throat symptoms that you are troubled with or concerned about
    • Persistent blocked nose with mouth breathing or snoring

    Dr Gan Eng Cern

    Dr Gan Eng Cern is a distinguished ENT doctor with fellowship training. In addition to his clinical practice as an ear, nose and throat specialist in Singapore, Dr. Gan has contributed to the academic field as a Senior Clinical Lecturer at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore. He is recognised for his extensive research work, with numerous contributions to reputable international ENT journals. Dr Gan is also highly sought after as a speaker and has shared his surgical knowledge as a surgical dissection teacher at various prominent ENT conferences and courses.


    • 2020 – Reader’s Choice Gold Award for Best ENT Specialist (Expat Living Singapore)
    • 2016 – Best Educator Award (Eastern Health Alliance)
    • 2016 – “Wow” Award (Patient Compliment)
    • 2014 – Eastern Health Alliance Caring Award – Silver
    • 2014 – 19th Yahya Cohen Memorial Lectureship (awarded by the College of Surgeons, Academy of Medicine Singapore for best scientific surgical paper)
    • 2012 – Human Manpower Development Award (Ministry of Health, Singapore)
    • 2007 – Singhealth Best Doctor Award


    • MBBS – Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia)
    • MRCS (Edin) – Member of the Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh, United Kingdom
    • MMed (ORL) – Master of Medicine in ENT (National University of Singapore)
    • FAMS – Fellow of the Academy of Medicine Singapore

    Why Choose Dr Gan Eng Cern


    Reliable & Reputable ENT Expert

    Experienced and patient ENT Specialist who has your best interests at heart. We aim to provide you with accessible and specialized care for any ENT condition in a comfortable setting.


    Friendly & Helpful Clinic Staff

    Our friendly staff will assist you to the best of our ability and we are happy to accept most insurance providers and assist with E-filing with relevant insurance providers or Medisave.


    Advanced ENT Equipment & Fully Equipped Facility

    Our ENT Specialist, Dr Gan Eng Cern, will be able to diagnose and offer personalised treatments for your specific ENT condition. You can expect a high level of ENT care in a spacious setting with in-house minor surgical, endoscopy, allergy testing and microscopy services.


    Financial Options

    There are various financial options available for you to ensure that you are able to receive the most optimal treatment and care. Our ENT clinic staff will be able to assist you with your medical insurance claims and work with your chosen healthcare organization to minimize the hassle and paperwork required. In some cases, you may be able to utilise the funds in your Medisave account to defray part of the costs of your treatment. As our clinic is accredited by the Medisave board, we are able to process your claims from your Medisave for certain clinic procedures.

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