Hi all. I have recently been diagnosed with thyroid cancer & had a total thyroidectomy a week ago. My doctor had advised that I will probably need a neck dissection to remove more lymph nodes. Has anyone had this procedure who can fill me in on what to expect?
You must be feeling a bit daunted by the prospect of more surgery, especially so soon after the thyroidectomy. My situation is a little different but I can tell you what it was like for me.
I had a neck dissection 4 and 1/2 years ago. I had tongue cancer a few months earlier and found it had spread to the lymph nodes. I had a 'radical' neck dissection - I had 30 lymph nodes removed from the left side of my neck. I had an incision which went from under my chin down to the creases in my neck and around to behind my ear. When I woke up from the op I felt fine, a bit swollen, had 2 drainage bags and I had a lot of staples. I looked a bit weird but they healed really well. In fact my scarring is not too bad as the scar is in the neck crease. My neck skin is a little tight but that was probably exacerbated by the radiotherapy I had soon after.
The only other real side effect is that I can't raise my left arm completely. The accessory nerve had to be cut as the cancerous lymph node was right next to it. My nerve was not severed, but 'nicked'. As a result my muscles are wasting a bit and my shoulder blade sticks out like a wing. I have regular physio and just this last year I have managed to swim laps. I also do exercises to maintain the movement I have.
One last tip. My physio also started massaging my neck once it had healed. I think this helped to smooth out the bumps - there were a few for the first year but now it's flat and smooth.
So, I hope this helps and that your surgery goes well. Please ask if there's anything else I can tell you.
Hi Riss I had radical neck dissection last year , cjf describes it pretty good I was in hospital for five days I needed to wait for the drainage to clear , they found a growth unexpected during the operation and had to remove it , so the operation was bigger , but it was not cancerous it was still confined in the lymph node which they removed, I was quite swollen and also had radiotherapy straight after , but I went back to work full time since Feb , the swelling has gone done a lot I massage my neck I bought one of those neck massage electric and I find this helps . Also the scarring is not bad as they keep it in the creases of your neck . Let me know if you need anymore information....
Hope your surgery goes well it's bit of a battle but worth the fight
Take Care Rod
Thank you for replying Rod & CJF. Still sounds scary, but it's good to know others have been through it & are manageing. I will keep that massaging thing in mind & hopefully I won't be too radical a procedure.
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