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What will my thyroidectomy scar look like?

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Updated January 19, 2011

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Question: What will my thyroidectomy scar look like?
I am having a total thyroidectomy because I have thyroid cancer. What will the scar look like?
Answer: Most thyroidectomy incisions are about two to three inches in length, slightly curved upward, and pencil thin. To help minimize the appearance of a scar, many surgeons try to make the incision in a natural fold of the neck. This isn't always possible, but surgeons do try if they can. You can also check out these reader-submitted photos of thyroidectomy scars to get an idea of how yours may heal.

The first few days following surgery, you can expect your incision to be red, and it may be a slightly raised or bumpy. Don't confuse the raised appearance with a possible infection, symptoms of which include inflammation or swelling at the incision site. Don't worry -- your doctor will ensure you are well aware of infection symptoms and what to keep an eye out for. How to Identify Infection After Surgery

Eventually, the scar will become less red and lighten in color. If you experienced any raising or puckering, it will likely go away in the weeks and months after surgery. Some people develop hypertrophic scarring, where the skin is bumpy or raised after healing. It can occur in any person, but is more likely to occur in people with darker skin tones. Many factors go into how an incision heals and what they resulting scar may look like.

Some patients have applied ointments like Neosporin or Mederma to the scar to reduce its appearance. If you choose to try these over-the-counter ointments, be sure to ask your doctor when it is safe to begin using them after surgery. How to Prevent or Minimize Surgical Scars

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