Thyroidectomy

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I had a Thyroidectomy in September 2009. Ever since I have suffered from left sided facial pain. I can't get rid of it and have to take Muscle Relaxents.

I did have loads of Hospital visits but they dispute that this is connected to the Thyroidectomy and call it unexplained facial pain. I would hate this to happen to anyone else. But I would just like to know if it's happened to anyone before after Thyroidectomy.

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  • Posted

    Hello Patricia:

    My name is Shelly and I am a nurse in the USA. I have Hashimoto's thyroid disease.

    I had back surgery in 2014 and I ended up with left sided jaw pain and pain in my TMJ joint (temporal joint which connects lower & upper jaw).  It was from the anesthisea person who did multiple  more than 3 attempts on trying to intubate me.  When I woke up in recovery, I felt like Ihad gone 15 rounds in my face with a PRIZE FIGHTER and lost!

    Some of the anesthesia people use a device to put the tube down and while you are knocked out they put a Glidescope down but if you got an inexperinced person doing it, they can cause tissue damage to your Jaw and muscle tissue on your face. Then then have an airway in you and it could have been pressing n the left side during your surgery. It has to go down your trachea and your thyroid is on top, and if it was swollen the tube won't go in well.   My surgery was about  1.5 hours.

    So here is what I did: 

    1. See a special  Dentist who does TMJ injuries.  Have it examined. It may make a click or feel funny when you chew. They can get a special device to help at night to keep it aligned. It will heal in time. They know about this type of injury.

    2. Take muscle relaxants.  I did this for a long while and it helps all of the muscle tissue under and alongside your jaw heal.  My jaw feels  better now after 1 year, but I still take the relaxant if I need to at bedtime.  It will make you sleepy.

    3. See if you have any nerves damaged there, you may have that too and you may need to see a Neurologist or ask the GP for Neurotin (Gabapentin) which helps nerve pain out.  Nerves can take a while to heal from the trauma.

    It most likely is from the intubation tube and I got a hold of my hospiatl records and I was able to recover money for my pain & suffering. I found out later that this lady anesthesia person was not as experinced with "difficult intubations and Thyroid nodules".

    Regards,

    Shelly

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    • Posted

      Hi thank you so much for your advice. I am going to request my hospital notes. I have been to specialist TMJ in Manchester and they made me a mouth guard which helps relieve the pain at night. Unfortunately the pain still continues its especially bad on damp days.

      I also saw a neurologist but he was looking to find out why I was getting headaches and he said they are there as a result of the facial pain. He never tested me for nerve damage though.

      I had hospital appointments for about 3 years and all they came back with was they don't know how to treat it. I take Nortriptyline 25mg 3 times a day and I have tried loads of others. Which seemed to not be very effective long term. I would be interested in anything you have found works though just in case I have not already tried it.

      Will the hospital notes actually state what happened during the operation in terms of anathesia or will I need someone medical to explain it. Also could they not alter the notes before they send them to me?

      I did enquirer with a medical negligence solicitor a few years ago and he said I had to go through the hospital complaints procedure. The hospital call it unexplained so that would weaken my complaint. Getting compensated would be nice but I would also like to prevent it happening to anyone else.

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    • Posted

      Hello Patricia:

      Please ask and get the records.  In the USA they were free, and in the UK they may charge you.

      They have to list exactly what they did to intubate you and how many times they tried. Everything has to be written down.

      There are a ton of nerves in the face and everywhere in the body.  They may have caused damage to them. Do you feel spikes of pain that feels like electrical shocks?

      I felt like I went through 15 Rounds with a Prize Fighter!  My jaw hurt and so did the left side of my face!  I had trouble sleeping and had to take Percocet a narcotic to rest. I also did find that the muscle relaxants helped. I used ice pads a lot and ice can work anytime and it reduces inflammation.

      Since you have the night guard that is good. It can help. One other thing I did use was a steriod drug called Prednilsone and it reduces pain and inflammation and helps the body heal.  It is safe to use for pain.  I used it for a few months.  You may want to try that. 

      I will Private Message you my e-mail and when you get that report and records you could send me a scanned copy or write what they say.

      I am sorry it happened to you.

      Regards,

      Shelly

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  • Posted

    Hi Patricia

    I am fascinated to read this thread.  I had a hemi thyroidectomy in Feb 2014 where I had the right half of my thyroid removed because there were lumps and cysts in it.  After the op the left side of my face and jaw felt exactly like Shelly.  In fact I said to the surgeon that my face on the left really hurt, like I'd been hit by Tyson.  He didn't comment.    I still have the face pain and have had a headache over the left side for a year.  I have seen a maxillo facial consultant several times, and had a couple of tests.  They just say it is stress headache with possible arthritis in my TMJ.  It never occurred to me that this problem may be to do with the surgery I had last year.  (I've had other health problems going on last year too).

    I'm wondering if I should now get my hospital records.  The trouble is that I now have lumps in the right side of my thyroid and have to see the consultant again.  I will probably have to have the left side of my thyroid removed.  My fear is now that they will make the face pain worse.

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    • Posted

      Hi Carole yes I think you should definitely ask for the medical records. I still have left sided facial pain and it's just something I have to live with. I have had appointments with every kind of specialist and tried loads of different painkillers all they will offer now is pain management and it's described as unexplained left sided facial pain. I have never been satisfied with what happened. a nurse advised me to get my medical records.

      If I was in your shoes I would try and get them to do your operation with a local Anesetic rather than a general one. Are there any other procedure they can do non surgical? Or at least with a Local. If you want me to go more into detail about my treatment for left sided facial pain then let me know.

      I am waiting for my records to arrive. I believe that there are more people out there who have had damage during Thyroidectomy from Anethetist it seems that they may have used someone inexperienced ( Thyroidectomy needs an experienced anethetist). But I need to look at my records. I will have to pay but it's worth it.

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    • Posted

      Thanks for your reply. I will look into getting records and maybe ask the consultant about it. I remember straight after the op wondering why the left side of my face was aching and painful and hurt more than the actual site of surgery. In a way I'm relieved if this is the cause of my pain as I've been thinking for a long time that it was the disease everyone dreads!! However I don't fancy having it permanently. I had another op last year, on my leg, and was fine after.

      I couldn't have that kind of surgery with local anaesthetic.

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    • Posted

      Hello Carole:

      Get your records even if you have to pay make sure you get the Anesetheisa records.  I never experienced such a bad intubation in my life and I am 54. 

      I have had surgery before but this lady who was my so called Anestheisologist was a DUNCE!  She never got help and did more than 3 attempts!

      When I was in Nursing school I spent 3 months on surgery and I had to set up and work with an Anestheisologist.  I know the equipment used and had respect for them until now!

      When you are knocked out they open your mouth, they place a Glidescope and it has to stretch your mouth open wide and hold the tongue down!  We are not snakes, and our jaw is held by a tiny joint called Temporal Mandibular Joint and looks like a hinge, very small one.  Normally it should take less than 30 seconds to do this and then they tape the tube to your side of your mouth.  Mostly the left side.

      Then they need to use the right sized tube, (tricky when you have thyroid problems), and in my case the lady Anesthesiologist used too large a tube at first.  My surgeon even told me she was using the wrong sized tube. He was helpful since he knew I would sue them and he wanted to be on my side, and I only went after the hospital and this Anestheisa lady. I was in tears at my post op appointment. The surgeon even hugged me.

       If you have a swollen thyroid or nodules or a goiter,  it can make it hard to get an airway!  If they try too many times then they BUST the TMJ joint and dislocate it and jaw pain happens. You feel it when you wake up!!!  The joint heals but becomes arthritic and painful.

      If you saw what they do you would be horrified.  i woke up and knew something was up.  I ran to my GP  the next day, my mouth had cuts to my upper palate and cheeks inside, and then to my Dentist.  I sued the hospital as I am in the USA and can do that.

      I went through hell, and then the lady Anestehiologist did not suction me enough and I got a pneumonia and had a heart attack 3 weeks later. 

      If you have to have surgery, and this goes for me, make sure you interview them and ask if they have done people with thyroid disease or difficult intubations!  Demand to have the best person you can have.  My problem was they are assigned to you in the USA and I trusted things, and learned the hard way! I will never do that again!

      Regards, any questions just ask.

      Shelly

       

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