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partial thyroidectomy followed with modified radical neck dissection

Posts: 1
Joined: Jul 2003

I was told that I had papillary carcinoma of the thyroid in April. On June 16th, I had a partial thyroidectomy to remove the left side of my throid. The nodule on my left thryroid was positive for papillary carcinoma as well as one lymph node. On July 11th, I had the right side of my throid removed as well as 51 lymph nodes in the left side of my neck (modified radical neck dissection). Because of the surgery, I have permanent nerve damage (I have lost feeling in my left shoulder and left ear), I get occasional sharp,shooting pains in my neck and chin. Does anyone know if the pain will go away? It's only been 10 days since the surgery but I am not used to being so incapacitated. I was in good shape before(having done a triathalon 2 days before the 1st surgery) and am hoping that physical therapy will help with the shoulder weakness. If anyone has been through this and can give me an overview of recovery and some insight it would be greatly appreciated.

Posts: 7
Joined: Jul 2003

I have had 2 modified radical neck surgerys. The last one was both left and right at the same time. It will take time to heal, give yourself the time. Sounds like you are in good shape and that is to your advantage. The better you take care of yourself the better the outcome. It has been 2 years since my last surgery and I do still have nerve damage also. From what I know, nerves do not regenerate, it takes time for the nerve endings to heal and the swelling to go away. I would give yourself about 6 months, no kidding. Mine got better slowly week by week the numbness took a long time to go away. I am still left with my chin and part of my neck numb. This is perment damage that won't go away. Are you scheduled for any body scans or other treatments? If you need to talk more my email is lisaspiegel1966@hotmail.com Good luck on your recovery.

LAF64's picture
Posts: 20
Joined: Apr 2003

I had a modified neck dissection on April 15th - my surgeon told me not to expect recovery from the numbing for 6-9 months. I am surprised that your doctors are saying that yours is permanent. The feeling has started to come back and at this point - I am about 50% sensation on the left side of the neck. I had 34 lymph nodes removed in an 8 1/2 hour surgery - sounds similar to your situation. I would agree with the others about giving it time. Your surgery was only a few months ago. Physical therapy has helped tremendously with my recovery as they had to cut muscles, etc. to remove my lymph nodes. I am sure you will see improvements shortly. If you need to talk, feel free to email at lfornino@comcast.net.

Posts: 1
Joined: Jun 2004

I'm in the same situation that you were when you posted. The daily pain and tightness is difficult to cope with. I hope that 6 to 9 months is mostly numbness and not so much pain. Extra strength Excedrin seems to be more effective than any script meds (LorTab, Darvocet, etc). It's been 10 days since the surgery and the ENT has just let me use Excedrin full time, he didn't want the blood thinning of the aspirin component before. I have a week before I begin physical therapy, dental work. And about a month before radiation/chemo. Strong suspicion of also having thyroid cancer, as thyroid tissue was found in the lymph node biopsies.
At what point did you get enough relief to function somewhat normally. By mid-day, my ear hurts too much to wear glasses.

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