This is a post to give some personal information and advice to others who have Graves disease and are planning on having a total thyroidectomy. Remember that I’m not a doctor or medical professional, that everyone’s experiences are different, and that this is just my anecdotal information. That being said, there was so relatively little online telling me what to expect after a thyroidectomy for Graves disease specifically that I would have appreciated a lot more information going in. This is because I’ve come to understand that partial thyroidectomy, total thyroidectomy for suspicious nodule/cancer, and total thyroidectomy for Graves disease are all very different in terms of procedure and healing. I now believe that Graves, as the least common of the three procedures, is also the trickiest, and that there was a lot I didn’t know going in. I’m also an over-preparer and super organized, so there’s some things I did at the time that felt ‘paranoid’ but ended up being ‘genius’.
Personal: About My Graves
Full disclosure, I am completely happy that I got the procedure. I only had my thyroid out two weeks ago, so I’m not going to pass any judgements on how I’m feeling, but I asked my surgeons for a photo of my thyroid and that thing was wrecked. It was never going to get better, and so I feel very sure that, whatever lies ahead, this was the right choice just based on the condition of the organ. That peace of mind means a lot, so if you’re curious, ask to see your thyroid post-op.
There are also a ton of variables going into surgery that I’m sure affect the experience. For one my thyroid numbers were stable and had been for about three months. Next, I completed all my prep with the Lugol’s solution and didn’t miss one dose, nor was a dose ever late. My Graves isn’t yours, obviously, so just in the interest of being transparent I will say I had heart issues (tachycardia and skipped beats) for which I took Atenolol, and mild TED that had stabilized a few months before surgery. My Methimazole dose going in was 10 mg/day and my last pill was the day before surgery. I didn’t have Graves lite though, let me assure you, for many months I was on 40 mg/day. I do think that waiting for the Graves to stabilize was a good idea for me personally though.
I also had some things that I cannot take credit for that were, I believe, hugely in my favor. I went to Dr. Gary Clayman at Tampa General Hospital, and his team is apparently one of the best in the country. I’m local, so this was just luck, but they live up to their reputation. They were amazing, and the number of people who (weirdly) called my incision “beautiful” were not joking. It’s a very clean cut and the work of someone who is obviously very skilled. This was probably the biggest factor of them all, so I would advise finding a very experienced surgeon. Because even the Clayman team, who does over 600 procedures a year, admitted that Graves thyroidectomies are their least common procedure by far.