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Department of Surgery

Department of Surgery

What to Expect After Surgery:

Endocrine Surgery

Appointments and Referrals

For referring physicians

Contact our Physician Referral Center to initiate a referral on behalf of your patient or to request a physician-to-physician phone consultation.

(800) 4-UCDAVIS (800-482-3284),
choose option 2

Refer a Patient

For patients

Contact our Consumer Resource Center
(800) 2-UCDAVIS (800-282-3284)

New patient request for Appointment

Returning patient appointments

To schedule an appointment, please call
(916) 734-2680

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Thyroid Surgery:

  • Recovery and Hospitalization:
    Patients who undergo a thyroid surgery may be admitted overnight for observation or discharged the same day as their procedure. Pain following the thyroid operations is variable, but some patients will require a narcotic pain medication for a few days, before transitioning over to Tylenol and/or ibuprofen. It is very common to have a sore throat following thyroid surgery which usually lasts for a couple of days.
  • Diet and Showering:
    You can eat what you want following thyroid surgery and it is ok to shower the next day. Avoid rubbing or picking at the incision. We suggest you do not take a bath or submerge the incision for 2 weeks following surgery. Patients who have their entire thyroid removed require thyroid hormone replacement, which is a pill you take once a day. It is important to take this pill one hour before a meal to assure absorption.
  • Returning to Work and Driving:
    Patients typically take between 5 – 7 days off work following thyroid surgery. Most patients feel back to “normal” by two weeks after surgery. You may drive once you are no longer taking narcotic pain medications and feel comfortable turning your neck.
  • Potential Complications:
    One common complication following thyroid surgery is low calcium. Patients with low calcium usually feel numbness or tingling in their fingers or around there lips. This can progress to cramping and pain and usually presents within the first 72 hours after surgery. If your entire thyroid was removed, then you will be sent home on a calcium supplement. If you experience these symptoms despite your supplementation, then take two 500mg Tums tablets every 30 minutes until the symptoms resolve. If the symptoms return or persist despite taking 2 doses of Tums, then call our advice line during business hours at (916) 734-5959 or after hours at (916) 734-2011.

    Voice changes after thyroid surgery occur after about 5% of operations. Most voice changes will improve within 2-6 weeks following surgery. Bleeding after thyroid surgery is rare, but potentially serious. Patients should call 911 and then their surgeon immediately if you are having excessive neck swelling or problems breathing.
  • Improving Healing:
    To improve healing we recommend you keep your incision out of the sun or use sunscreen for at least 6 months following surgery.

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Parathyroid Surgery:

  • Recovery and Hospitalization:
    Patients who undergo a parathyroid surgery may be admitted overnight for observation or discharged the same day as their procedure. Pain following the operation is variable, but some patients will require a narcotic pain medication for a few days, before transitioning over to Tylenol and/or ibuprofen. It is very common to have a sore throat following parathyroid surgery, which usually lasts for a couple of days.
  • Diet and Showering:
    You can eat what you want following parathyroid surgery and it is ok to shower the next day. Avoid rubbing or picking at the incision. We suggest you do not take a bath or submerge the incision for 2 weeks following surgery.
  • Returning to Work and Driving:
    Patients typically take between 5 – 7 days off work following parathyroid surgery. Most patients feel back to “normal” by two weeks after surgery. You may drive once you are no longer taking narcotic pain medications and feel comfortable turning your neck.
  • Potential Complications:
    One common complication following parathyroid surgery is low calcium. Patients with low calcium usually feel numbness or tingling in their fingers or around their lips. This can progress to cramping and pain and usually presents within the first 72 hours after surgery. Following your parathyroid surgery you will be sent home on a calcium supplement. If you experience these symptoms despite your supplementation, then take two 500mg Tums tablets every 30 minutes until the symptoms resolve. If the symptoms return or persist despite taking 2 extra doses of Tums, then call our advice line during business hours at (916) 734-5959 or after hours at (916) 734-2011.

    Voice changes after parathyroid surgery occur after about 5% of operations. Most voice changes will improve within 2-6 weeks following surgery. Bleeding after parathyroid surgery is rare, but potentially serious. Patients should call 911 and then their surgeon immediately if you are having excessive neck swelling or problems breathing.
  • Improving Healing:
    To improve healing we recommend you keep your incision out of the sun or use sunscreen for at least 6 months following surgery.

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Laparoscopic Adrenal Surgery:

  • Recovery and Hospitalization:
    Patients undergoing laparoscopic adrenal surgery are typically hospitalized overnight. Patients frequently require narcotic pain medications for a few days to a week following surgery. We encourage you to walk and socialize with your family once you have been admitted to your hospital room A bladder catheter that is placed during surgery can be removed once you can ambulate safely. Patients frequently have pain in their shoulders and a sore throat from the operation. Both of these issues will improve in a couple of days.
  • Diet and Showering:
    You can eat what you want following laparoscopic adrenal surgery and it is ok to shower the next day. Avoid rubbing or picking at the incisions. We suggest you do not take a bath or submerge the incision for 2 weeks following surgery. It is common to not feel like eating much for several days following laparoscopic adrenal surgery.
  • Returning to Work and Driving:
    Patients typically take between 7 – 14 days off work following laparoscopic adrenal surgery. Most patients feel back to “normal” by 2 - 4 weeks after surgery. You may drive once you are no longer taking narcotic pain medications and feel comfortable wearing a seatbelt and reaching for the brake and gas peddles.
  • Potential Complications:
    Complications following laparoscopic adrenal surgery are uncommon. We recommend avoiding lifting greater than 20 points for 6 weeks after surgery to minimize your chance of getting an incisional hernia. Give us a call during business hours at (916) 734-5959 or after hours at (916) 734-2011 if you experience any of the following after your laparoscopic adrenal surgery:
    • Fever (>100.5 F)
    • Redness or drainage from your incisions
    • Inability to eat or drink or nausea/vomiting
    • Inability to urinate or burning/pain with urination
    • Excessive pain, bloating or bruising that seems beyond what you anticipated

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Improving Healing:

  • To improve healing we recommend you keep your incisions out of the sun or use sunscreen for at least 6 months following surgery.