I'm not sure how long it takes to recover from a thyroid lobectomy, but I'm about to find out since I'm having one next week. According to my doctor, I do not have to spend the night in the hospital unless there are complications (if I had a total thyroidectomy, 75% of her patients end up spending the night for monitoring). After returning home - I need to take it easy for the first week and no lifting anything 10lb or more for the first month. I will be given a prescription for Percocet when I leave the hospital --I have never taken anything much stronger than Tylenol or Ibuprofen and am hoping to avoid filling that prescription, but I'm not sure how much pain I'll be in (I believe I have a high pain tolerance, but I haven't had any major surgery before so who knows). I need to wait 2 weeks to start running again, but I can go for short walks the next day, and should expect pain and stiffness at the incision site on my neck and maybe stretching will help. Apparently there will be some sort of "seal" on the incision site that falls off on its own after about 2 weeks. For the first year I need to put sunscreen on the scar every single day (this will not be hard to remember because I do not go outside without moisturizer with sunscreen on my face). My doctor does not think I will need thyroid hormone, but I have a sick thyroid (Hashimoto's with multinodular goiter) and already have hypothyroidism symptoms, so I am expecting I will need to start taking thyroid hormone sometime in the next few months. I have two follow up appointments with my thyroid surgeon at 1 week and at 1 month after the surgery.
I am a 37 year old female, and I do not have a lot of neck wrinkles (according to my thyroid surgeon when she looked at my neck), so there may be a scar for quite some time, but the benefit in my case will be finding out if my nodule was cancerous and having it gone. I will be able to use scar healing ointment on the scar to hopefully minimize the scarring so when it heals and the swelling goes down, it will be less noticeable. As a 26 year old, I believe your healing time will be pretty fast if all goes well, and if you are working, you may need to take off of work for 1-2 weeks (or longer if you have to lift things at work). As far as surgeries go, it sounds like people heal pretty quickly from lobectomies and total thyroidectomies, but every person is different. I think you have a good attitude about not worrying about the biopsy - if it is obstructing your airways/esophagus, it is best to get it out! I hope all goes well for you and hope this gives you a little idea of what to expect.