What happens before surgery?

You may be seen at a pre-assessment clinic before your operation. At the clinic you will have some tests to check your general health. These may include blood tests, a chest x-ray and a recording of your heart.

You will see a member of the surgical team and in some hospitals a specialist nurse who will talk to you about your operation. This is a good opportunity to ask questions and talk over any concerns you may have. 

You will see the doctor who gives you your anaesthetic (the anaesthetist) either at a clinic or when you’re admitted to hospital.

If you smoke, it’s important to try to give up or cut down before your operation. This will help reduce your risk of problems such as a chest infection, and help your wound heal after the operation. Your GP can give you advice on giving up smoking.

If you think you might need help when you go home after your operation, let the nurses know as soon as possible. It means the staff can help you make arrangements in plenty of time. 

You’ll usually be admitted to hospital the day before or the morning of your operation. The nurses will give you elastic stockings (TED stockings) to wear during and after the operation. These help prevent blood clots forming in your legs.

Back to Surgery explained

Surgery for thyroid cancer

Surgery for thyroid cancer removes part or all of the thyroid gland. You may have some lymph nodes removed from your neck.

Who might I meet?

A team of specialists will plan your surgery. This will include a surgeon who specialises in your type of cancer.

Side effects of surgery

After thyroid surgery you may be tired. Surgery may also cause changes to your neck, voice and calcium and hormone levels in your blood.

Thyroid hormones

If you have part, or all, of your thyroid gland removed you may need to take thyroid hormone replacement tablets.