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How long does parathyroid or thyroid surgery take? How long is the recovery period?

Performing Thyroid Surgery

Thyroid surgery can take anywhere between one to two hours. The length or surgery time depends on whether or not Dr. Kroeker is taking out half of the thyroid or doing a total thyroidectomy. Having to do a neck dissection to clean out more lymph nodes in the central or lateral neck can also add more time onto the total surgery length.

Parathyroid surgery is similar in that it depends on how easily the abnormal parathyroid gland or glands are to identify. Dr. Kroeker uses rapid intra-operative parathyroid hormone levels in the operating room during parathyroid surgery to ensure that the right surgery has been done the first time.

The typical length of surgery is around an hour and a half to two hours total, depending on variance or other factors. Dr. Kroeker will add as much time as is needed to perform an adequate and safe surgery.

Recovery — When can I go back to work?

A patient will usually be home from the hospital the following day after a 23-hour observation period. Patients can expect to get back to work and their normal day-to-day activities after one week.

Thyroid and parathyroid surgery is not a very painful surgery at all. The worst pain is the sore throat patients have for a few days after surgery from the endotracheal tube inserted for a general anesthesia. Dr. Kroeker’s patients do not usually need or take any narcotics. Most only take Tylenol and Ibuprofen and do great following surgery. Of course, if a stronger pain medication is needed, Dr. Kroeker will assess the situation and prescribe what is needed, but that is very rare because the surgery is not a very painful procedure.