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At Mater Private Hospital Redland, we understand that having an operation can be a very stressful experience. In keeping with our Mission to offer compassionate, quality care that promotes dignity while responding to patients’ needs, this booklet aims to alleviate some of your concerns. It explains the general day to day events that may occur during your visit and the things to expect when you are discharged from the hospital.

It is, however, only a guideline as each person may require differing treatments. If you have any questions about your treatment please ask your doctor or nurse. Our pastoral care team offers a caring support network to all patients. The dedicated members of this team will visit you during your stay and are available at your request to discuss any anxieties or problems that you may have.

Before your operation

  • ThyroidectomyYou will be admitted on the day of your operation and prepared for your surgery in the day surgery ward, at Mater Private Hospital Redland.
  • Your admitting nurse will apply your armband which stays on for the duration of your admission for identification and safety reasons.
  • You will be asked to sign a surgical consent form, if you have not already done so.
  • Your nurse will discuss with you any needs that you may have when you are discharged.
  • Any blood tests, X-rays or other procedures that your doctor has ordered for you will be completed soon after your arrival to the ward.
  • If you have been transferred from another health care facility or you have a history of previous colonisation of multi-resistant organisms—nasal, wound and perianal swabs will be taken.
  • Deep breathing, coughing and leg exercises are important to your post-operative recovery and will be explained to you.
  • It is necessary that you have nothing to eat or drink six hours before the operation.
  • You may be seen and assessed by your anaesthetist, who may order some medication for you to have prior to going to theatre.
  • If you have any family or friends who you would like your doctor to speak with after the operation, this will be noted on the check list and they can wait in your room or a waiting area.
  • Your nurse will give you an antiseptic sponge, a theatre gown and some paper pants and ask you to have a shower before going to theatre.
  • Your nurse will take a set of baseline observations such as temperature, pulse, blood pressure and weight, and may ask you to provide a urine sample for routine testing.
  • You will continue to take your regular medications as ordered by your doctor.
  • It is necessary that if you are normally on blood thinning medications, that they be stopped before surgery. Please inform your doctor or nurse.
  • It may be necessary to clip any hair in the surgical area.
  • You will be measured for special stockings (TEDS) which are worn to the operating theatre and post-operatively until you are fully mobile. These assist with blood flow through your legs and decrease the risk of blood clot formation while you have decreased mobility.
  • Your premedication will be given to you, if ordered by your anaesthetist.
  • Before you leave for your surgery, a pre-operative check list will be completed with you by your nurse. This check list will be repeated in the operating reception area. Apart from your wedding band, no jewellery or metal is to be worn to the theatre. While there is a locked valuables cupboard in your room it is advised that you leave all valuables at home. Please bring essential items only as we are unable to accept liability for losses.
  • You will be transferred to the operating suite on your bed.

After your operation

  • You will stay in the recovery room after the operation while you awake from the anaesthetic. When your condition has stabilised you will be transferred to your room, in your bed.
  • You will have a dressing over your wound. You may have some drains. These remove excess fluid from the site of your operation and are usually removed a day or two after your operation.
  • Your nurse will observe your vital signs and your wound for several hours after the surgery. As you become fully recovered, these observations become less frequent but remain regular until you leave hospital.
  • Immediately following your surgery, you will be resting in bed.
  • About four hours after you return to the ward, your nurse will assist you to have a wash.
  • You may have small amounts of water or ice to suck, then progress from fluids to a normal diet as tolerated.
  • If you have pain or nausea, please tell your nurse as there are medications which can be given to relieve this. Good analgesia is important. When you have pain, you are less likely to breath deeply and more likely to withhold coughing and movement.
  • The drip (IV) is necessary to maintain your fluid intake. This will be removed when you are tolerating adequate amounts of oral fluids.
  • When you are ready for discharge, your surgical team will visit you before you go home.
  • Discharge information will be given to you and your nurse will discuss this with you. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.

Days One and Two Post-Op/Day of Discharge

If you did not go home the day of surgery, over the next couple of days your care will continue as follows:

Discharge Planning

  • If any discharge arrangements were identified on admission, your nurse will discuss these and make the necessary arrangements.
  • Discharge information will be given to you and your nurse will discuss this with you. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.

Teaching and Emotional Support

It is still recommended to perform deep breathing, coughing and leg exercises while you are resting in bed.


Your surgical team will visit you before you are discharged and discuss your operation.


You may walk as much as you like. Short frequent walks are a great way to start and assistance is available if required. Please let the nursing staff know if you plan to leave the ward.


You may shower yourself. Assistance is available if required, please ask the nursing staff.


You may eat and drink as you like, unless otherwise ordered by your doctor.

Continence state

You may walk to the toilet as required.


Your observations such as temperature, pulse and wound and drain/s will be monitored regularly until you are discharged.


  • You will recommence your normal medications as ordered by your doctor, plus any required for pain relief. Please let the nursing staff know when you have pain.
  • The drip (IV) will continue until you are taking adequate amounts of fluids and until any IV medications (if applicable) are ceased. It will then be removed.


  • The drain/s (if applicable) in your wound will be removed as ordered by your doctor. This is usually the morning after your operation.
  • Your stockings will be placed back on after your shower.
  • Your doctor will advise when the staples/sutures will be removed. Often this is before you go home. If so, some steri-strips (bandaids) will be applied. Please leave these on until they peel or fall off (these can get wet when you shower).

Discharge advice following thyroidectomy

Please adhere to the following

  • Avoid lifting heavy objects.
  • Avoid over-exertion, eg. gardening.
  • Avoid constipation—eat a nutritious diet and drink plenty of water.

What to expect

  • Some pain/discomfort at your wound site may be experienced. This is generally aggravated by movement, coughing and sneezing. Gently support the wound area when you need to cough. This discomfort will eventually settle. You can take analgesia as discussed with your doctor or nurse.
  • You may notice redness, slight swelling and bruising around the wound, this is quite normal.
  • The skin closures (steristrips) applied will fall off naturally.
  • You may notice that you have a poor appetite for some time.
  • Post-operative lethargy often lasts for a month or more.

What to do

  • Maintain adequate fluid intake (6–8 glasses per day).
  • Maintain your mobility at home—continue gentle walking.
  • Progress to light activities as comfortable.
  • You may take simple analgesia, eg. Panadol/Panadeine—however, do not take any more than eight tablets within a 24 hour period.
  • Shower with your wound uncovered and pat dry with a towel.

Return if

  • You have any difficulty swallowing or breathing.
  • You notice increased swelling from/around the wound and/or a discharge from the wound, inflammation, throbbing around the wound or it feels hot to touch.
  • You experience a tingling feeling in your mouth or fingers and/or numbness in your fingers.
  • You feel feverish.
  • You experience a marked increase in pain that is not relieved with simple analgesia, eg. Panadol/Panadeine—no more than eight tablets within a 24 hour period.
  • You have nausea and vomiting which does not settle.
  • You have any other concerns.

Our Mission

In the spirit of the Sisters of Mercy, Mater hospitals offer compassionate service to the sick and needy, promote an holistic approach to health care in response to changing community needs and foster high standards in health related education and research. Following the example of Christ the Healer, we commit ourselves to offering these services to all without discrimination.

Visiting Hours

8 am to 8 pm


Ph 07 3821 9444

Milliman Care Guidelines 11th Edition, 2007


Staff of Mater Adult Hospital and Mater Private Hospital Redland

© 2010 Mater Misericordiae Ltd. ACN 096 708 922

Mater acknowledges consumer consultation in the development of this patient information.
Mater Doc Num: PI-CLN-450027
Last modified 09/8/2017.
Consumers were consulted in the development of this patient information.
Last consumer engagement date: 19/1/2014
For further translated health information, you can visit healthtranslations.vic.gov.au/ supported by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services that offers a range of patient information in multiple languages.
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