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Continued Tightness and fullness in Neck after Thyroidectomy
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Continued Tightness and fullness in Neck after Thyroidectomy

Why I am I having continued neck tightness, pain and fullness with swollen area on left where thyroid was largest 8 month post thyroidectomy? Scar is also raised and I feel the scar all the time from end to end. Have had every test imagable without any resolution (barium swallow, modified barium swallow, laryngoscopy; injections into the scar.  Currently on 150 mcg of levothyroid and prilosec for GERD which was not present prior to surgery.
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97953_tn?1193367871
I do not have a good answer for this -- sounds like scar tissue -- does the CT or US of the neck show any mass or fluid accumulation?
10 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
I too have this problem one month post surgery.  What if any answers have you had?  This is not a way to live and I understand what you're going through.  I'm back at my doctor next week and will not take no for an answer.  Did they suggest prednisone? antiimmflamatory of any kind?  Looking like you are.
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Avatar_n_tn
No real answer other than GERD may be attributing to this, which I did not have prior to the surgery.Immediately when I came out of the anesthesic my neck has been in the same condition since that time  It has been very frustrating.  When seen by Pain Management - had injections into the scar which helped some but did not eleviate the tightness and fullness in the neck and the continued feeling of the scar. Anesthestiologist thought it might be a scar neuroma, but no one can tell me how there is scar tissue build up immediately following surgery.  I also cannot sing or extend my voice, even thought my vocal cords look good.  My CT scan is in 2 weeks.  I'm beginning to things maybe the wrong type of sutures were used internally or something was left in my neck after surgery.
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Avatar_n_tn
Sorry, it's actually an MRI and not a CT that I'm having.
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Avatar_f_tn
8 months certainly does sound like a long period of time. However, I can tell you that 6 months after my thyroidectomy, I am just now noticing the swelling to go down. I also have a raised scar which the doctor is attributing to a keloid or in my case a hypertrophic scar. Also, I still have quite a hitch so I guess for some it does take a while. Hang in there.
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Avatar_n_tn
I am 2 & 1/2 years out from a sub-total thyroidectomy.
It's been one HORRIBLE ride! I was hypo for over 1 year, then finally the closest to normal in YEARS, now hyper for 1 year.
The docs can't seem to figure out what the heck is going on.

Anyway, about the tightness...I still have it. surgery was in Jan 2004. The scar isn't "that" bad, it could be better, yet it sure could be worse too!
I don't think that feeling will ever go away. You know, the one that feels like something is stuck in your throat (like a GIANT loogy).
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Avatar_n_tn
I had a TT in May and still experience swelling above the scar, although in the past few weeks, this has greatly gone down to almost where the swelling is almost gone.  Once in awhile I still experience a little difficulty swallowing but this has subsided as the swelling went down.  In the beginning I went back to my surgeon with the concern about the swallowing difficulty and the swelling and my surgeon told me that this would last for 3 or more months and she was right.  My surgeon was also a plastic surgeon in addition to specializing in thyroid surgery so the scar just looks like a crease in my neck. Anyway, I was worried more about how I felt than having an ugly scar.

I am now preparing for the RAI scan.  The report after surgery said that all of the cancer was removed, but at this point they are looking to see if any thyroid tissue was left behind. I was taking 25mcg of cytomel and feeling very good. My endo said it wasn't enough but when she prescribed 50mcg I had a racing heart. I think everyone reacts to meds differently.  Now I am at day 3 without the cytomel and still feeling very good.  The radiologist said most people get very tired at some point after going off of meds in prep for RAI scan.  My scan is Labor Day week. Hopefully, I won't get that way until the scan is closer.
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks for your testimonies.  It's interesting that I have searched all the available literature on my type of substernal thyroidectomy and have not come up with any (what I now consider complications) being mentioned.  Even during my pre op assessment and discussions with my ENT Dr. doing the surgery, plus I had consults with 2 thoracic surgeon because of the possibility of not being able to remove it from the neck there was no mention that this type of post op problem would occur.  If if were mild and occasional I would not be concerned, but this is never ending.  As I type my neck is soooooooooo tight and the scar is felt from end to end.  Even in the morning when I arise, it almost like a large bulge is there. I'm still thinking that maybe something was left in side, gauze, sponges, wrong sutures used, etc.  I'll keep every one posted after the MRI on Monday.  
Thanks for your concerns.

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Avatar_n_tn
I have my MRI today.  A marker was placed on my neck where the area is tightest, even through the entire neck is still tight and I can feel the scar for end to end.  It will take several days before the report is complete.  

Any other toughts on my situation as to what might be occurring.  I also mentioned to the tech my concerns that something may have been left inside in my neck during the surgery.

Will keep you posted.
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Avatar_n_tn
Update:  My MRI does not show any fluid build up or mass.  Where do I go from here? Post op 7 months?  Neck still tight, full and can feel the scar from beginning to end. If I pull the skin up on my neck there is some relief????
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