20 doctors weighed in:
What are the complications of thyroid surgery?
20 doctors weighed in

Dr. Mike Bowman
ENT - Head & Neck Surgery
12 doctors agree
In brief: 2 main ones
Any surgery has risks from the anesthesic, as well as bleeding and infection.
These problems are rare. Thyroid surgery specifically risks injury to the vocal cord nerves which can cause hoarseness. Injury to the parathyroid glands can cause low blood calcium. These problems also should be rare and are not expected after thyroid surgery, but you should discuss with your surgeon.

In brief: 2 main ones
Any surgery has risks from the anesthesic, as well as bleeding and infection.
These problems are rare. Thyroid surgery specifically risks injury to the vocal cord nerves which can cause hoarseness. Injury to the parathyroid glands can cause low blood calcium. These problems also should be rare and are not expected after thyroid surgery, but you should discuss with your surgeon.
Dr. Mike Bowman
Dr. Mike Bowman
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Dr. Joseph Kuhn
Bariatrics
5 doctors agree
In brief: Three main ones
Three main risks with thyroid surgery: 1) injury to nerve to vocal cord causing hoarseness 2) injury to parathyroid glands causing chronic low calcium, 3) bleeding in first night.
Overall these risks are quite rare.

In brief: Three main ones
Three main risks with thyroid surgery: 1) injury to nerve to vocal cord causing hoarseness 2) injury to parathyroid glands causing chronic low calcium, 3) bleeding in first night.
Overall these risks are quite rare.
Dr. Joseph Kuhn
Dr. Joseph Kuhn
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Dr. Michael Nordstrom
ENT - Head & Neck Surgery
2 doctors agree
In brief: Complications
Complications from any operation include bleeding, infection, wound healing problems, scarring, etc.
Specific to thyroid surgery the most common are vocal cord paralysis (due to injury to the recurrent laryngeal nerves which power the vocal cords) or weakness and low calcium levels (hypocalcemia) which may require temporary or permanent calcium supplements. Your surgeon should review these risks.

In brief: Complications
Complications from any operation include bleeding, infection, wound healing problems, scarring, etc.
Specific to thyroid surgery the most common are vocal cord paralysis (due to injury to the recurrent laryngeal nerves which power the vocal cords) or weakness and low calcium levels (hypocalcemia) which may require temporary or permanent calcium supplements. Your surgeon should review these risks.
Dr. Michael Nordstrom
Dr. Michael Nordstrom
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Dr. Brendan Stack Jr.
Surgery - Head & Neck
1 doctor agrees
In brief: Risks
Thyroid surgery risks are based on the thyroidectomy performed.
Hemi (half) thyroid removal has risks of temporary hoarseness, permanent hoarseness, bleeding, infection, and 20% chance of needing thyroid hormone for life. Total thyroidectomy has risks above PLUS 100% need for thyroid hormone, temporary low calcium, permanent low calcium, and tracheotomy.

In brief: Risks
Thyroid surgery risks are based on the thyroidectomy performed.
Hemi (half) thyroid removal has risks of temporary hoarseness, permanent hoarseness, bleeding, infection, and 20% chance of needing thyroid hormone for life. Total thyroidectomy has risks above PLUS 100% need for thyroid hormone, temporary low calcium, permanent low calcium, and tracheotomy.
Dr. Brendan Stack Jr.
Dr. Brendan Stack Jr.
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