TT, Central Neck Dissection, Right Lateral Neck Dissection

Good Morning and Happy Good Friday to all!!
I hope everyone is doing well and has a blessed Easter weekend. My favorite holiday. :0)
I am scheduled for a TT, central neck dissection and right lateral neck dissection. Has anyone had this procedure? What do I need to expect after the surgery? How long were you off work? Did you have PT? Any information would be so great. I am not scared because I know God is with me, just anxious of the unknown.
God Speed,
Ginnie

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That's a lot of work being done. You'll be pretty sore for a while, and likely fatigued. I was off 3 months during my TT, but I first had a PT and my insurance company told me to "hang tight" until everything was settled and the Dr okayed me to return to work.

I could have stayed off longer but my income was on a reduction scheduled and once it hit 50% I hightailed it back to work. It was 4 weeks after my TT that I went back. Give yourself ample time to recover and for your meds to kick in.

I haven't had the dissections (but I'm having a Central done in May) and I fully expect to need another month off.

Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

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Hello Ginnie and Happy Good Friday to you as well.
I've had the exact procedure you're talking about Feb 20th 2013. I had a 5cm tumour removed from behind my thyroid, TT, 3 of my 4 parathyroid glands, and all the lymph nodes on the right side.
Here's the short and skinny of my adventure so far.

Prep: have a couple of comfy pillows that you can prop up and sleep at a 30 degree angle for the first few nights you're home. You might want to have a sock full of frozen corn gently lay across your neck to help with the swelling as well. I was able to have my wife bring in any liquid meals into the hospital that I wanted and it sure beat the hospital food. If there is anything that requires a renewal (i.e. drivers licence) do it BEFORE the surgery as you won't be driving for a few weeks. I speak from experience! Also buy some Restoralax, senokot, and Metamucil (just in case) as you do not want to be "straining".

Surgery: I was in for five days because I had two drains at the base of my neck. The incision I have is from the bottom of my right ear straight down to the base of my neck and then across the front just above my clavicle. They took one drain out on day four and the other on day five and then sent me home later that day. Ask for a bag of goodies from your nurse. I was given a few bottles of saline, tons of Q-tips, and polysporin. Use this to clean and treat your incision for a week or two. I only have internal sutures so the scar is very thin.

Recovery: Personally, after I got home I stopped taking the dilaudid (4mg for pain) immediately. I have no desire for that spacey, foggy feeling it gave me and the pain was very minimal anyway. I had Advil at the ready for that. Don't stretch too much right away but do try and move your head around all axis best you can to prevent a stiff neck, shoulders, and back. I needed a heating pad as I was manipulated very "aggressively" during surgery, as described by my surgeon. The reason was that he needed to go deep into my right shoulder and trapezius. He said I was young, fit and my body would handle it. Either way, my wife still has to massage some knots out of my right trapezius and middle back daily. I made good use of voltaren gel. You will be somewhat weak with your right shoulder depending on how much work is done internally so expect that.

I hope this helps set the stage for some of the things you may encounter. Again, this is just my experience. I am still off work as I am awaiting RAI at some unknown future date (a few weeks maybe). I am seeing the surgeon for my first follow up in one week and I think he will be pleased with both the recovery and progress I've made so far.


Let me know how you make out and the best advice is to read as much as you can here in the discussions everyday and you will come out with fewer questions than I did!!

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Hi Ginnie -- This is one of those times when different terms can throw me off! I had what my surgeon referred to as a "left neck dissection" (no 'lateral' term thrown in there) and I tried to look it up 'lateral neck dissection' to see if that was the same or different, but couldn't nail down specifically what a 'lateral neck dissection' consists of. So with that in mind, my left (same as the right I would imagine!) included 33 lymph nodes from groups 3, 4, & 5 and a few from 2. The Central dissection included nodes from level 6. I did not lose any muscle or other structures. I hope that helps in terms of comparison to what you have scheduled.

Anyway - I was only in the hospital 2 days (planned for 1, but an extra day for my reaction to the anesthesia). I was walking to the bathroom the first time I had to go when in the hospital -- no need for the bedpan (yay!). I was out of work for 2 weeks. Was driving after about 1 week. I had one drain that they removed after 10 days. I had severe tightness/spasms in the muscles of my neck and started on PT after about 2 weeks. It has been a huge help, but is an ongoing process. I have somewhat reduced range of motion in my left shoulder that has come back a bit with PT. Still cannot lift my arm straight up. I have numbness in my left ear down my neck, across my shoulder and part way down the front of my chest. This numbness is only in the skin, the structures under the skin are fine. Some of this sensation may come back, we will see.

Lifting things with my left side is still somewhat limited. I have started going to the gym a bit (although i was very out of shape before the surgery so my starting point is pretty low). I've had to take things much easier than I would have expected. When walking the dog, if he pulls on my left side, it hurts somewhat.

I am now about 5.5 weeks post surgery and I'm doing really well. While I was back at work after 2 weeks, the neck tighness was a significant problem and I didn't realize how much I was still recovering (given how much more normal I feel now at 5.5 weeks). That said, I still think the 2 weeks was all I needed off as getting back into my normal life has been very helpful. We don't have any kids, so I didn't have to deal with that. I think that would have been hard, especially in the first week. Pain-wise, I used very little of the prescription stuff. Mostly used aspirin/NSAIDs as needed.

So, I'm not sure if this is the same type of operation you will be having, but it might give you a guidepost. Best of luck and happy Easter!

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Oh, and I just read Navelweps' post and I absolutely second the advice on the laxatives. Between the anesthesia and the pain meds in hospital (which slow things down) and the large amount of calcium I was taking (which made rocks) -- I really wish I had prepped on the laxatives. You definitely don't want to be straining and things will likely be sluggish. Very sluggish! OK, I know, TMI!

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You all are and continue to be my HEROS. So glad I have you and this website. This information has been very helpful and gives me an idea of what to expect. LAXATIVES is number one on my list of items to remember..hehehe :0)

I am praying for all of you and Navelweps be safe, you are to be commended for what you do for your country.

God Speed,
Ginnie

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I am always afraid of the unknown and get myself all worked up and than when it's done. I say wow that was not so bad. Good luck to you I have only had a mod neck with one compartment. So I have not experience with what you are going to have

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Thank you, Mindy! I know what you mean about getting worked up. That is another reason I love this forum. If I know what I am facing before I go into it (fear of the unknown) I am better.
Happy Easter!
Ginnie

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Good luck Ginnie! I am having the same surgery done in mid-April. Except mine is on the left, neck dissection levels 6, 3, and 4 planned. When is yours?

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May 3rd at MD Anderson. Good luck and I am praying for you. I will check on you.

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I will pray that all that surgery goes well and you have no long term problems from it all!

Be Strong and Stay Positive!

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Thank you so much, Justgeo1!!!
I am praying for you.
Happy Easter.

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Kindaworry,
What is your surgery date?? You are on my prayer list, just want to have the date on my calendar so I can check on you after your surgery. God will be with you the whole time...
Ginnie

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