Surgery Photos

There has been quite a bit of traffic on this blog due to the posting I did regarding my Sistrunk Procedure/Thyroglossal Cyst Removal Surgery, and some individuals would like to see pictures of the incision-site post-surgery, so I'm going to post what I've got.  BEWARE--the first several pictures are quite gross and not too pretty to look at.  But I am encouraged to see improvement at the incision-site each month after I take my "Scar Photo on the 26th".  Since my surgery on November 26, 2013, I have taken a monthly picture of my scar.  That may sound strange, but it's my way of holding my surgeon accountable to his claim that in one year from the surgery date, my incision site will just be a "thin white line".

Please bear with me as I sort through and post the best photos I have.  I'm usually the one taking the pictures, and sometimes it's hard to get the camera positioned properly for these photos.

Be prepared for ugly . .

 2 days after surgery:
5 stitches, yellow bruising, some swelling,
and purple pen-marks made by the surgeon.

2 days after surgery.

 3 days after surgery - more swelling, more bruising.

1 week after surgery--the day the stitches were removed.
This photo is taken looking straight-up from underneath the incision site.
My throat/neck swelled-up like a ball.

1 week following surgery--stitches removed this day.
I started calling my neck the "turkey wattle".

3 1/2 weeks after surgery.
Still some swelling, but not as bad as one week prior.

My husband and I on Christmas Eve - 1 month less 2 days
after surgery.  I don't have a close-up of the incision,
but you can see there is still quite a bit of swelling and
the incision site is still quite obvious.

2 months after surgery.

3 months after surgery.

4 months after surgery.

5 months after surgery.

6 months after surgery.
The scar is not really noticeable at this angle.

6 months after surgery.

 7 months after surgery . . . a super close-up of the incision site.
Actual size = 2.5 cm or 1 inch

Me with one of my boys, 7 months post-surgery.
The scar is still obvious, but it is slowly but surely
becoming less red and is beginning to smooth out.

8 months post-surgery.

9 months post-surgery.  This isn't a close-up, but you can
see the scar on my neck, just below my chin.

10 months post-surgery.
I'm beginning to think the "thin, white line"
isn't going to happen.  I guess I'll settle for a
"permanent pink scar".

11 months post-surgery.

ONE YEAR post-surgery.
I was hoping for a "whiter" line, but this is definitely
better than what my neck looked like one year ago.


Donna Roy said...

Hello Kim, I found your blog while researching Sistrunk Procedure after-care. I'm 51 yrs old and just had the procedure 6 days ago. I love my doctor, but I'm finding out that he didn't tell me all of what to expect while recovering. I'm especially encouraged by your scar photos, as my stitches look very much like yours, and I was worried that my scar would be hideous. Yours is not, so thanks for sharing; it encourages me. Thank you for sharing your experience.

Kimmy said...

Donna . . . I'm so glad you were able to benefit from what I've written or shared by way of photos on here. I would say that in the last month my scar has begun to look even better--or maybe it's just my imagination. I'm in month 10 now, and I'm hoping that by December the scar will truly be the "thin white line" that my doctor claims it will be. All the best to you in your recovery. Be patient. :)

Kate Nicole said...

Hi Kim,
It looks like your scar healed very well! I just went in today for an ultrasound on my thyroid. I should know the results within 24-48 hours. My doctor is concerned that I may end up needing my thyroid out unless the ultrasound comes back showing just the one cyst. I am 25 years old and have 2 children. My daughter is 4 and my son is 6. I am really hoping that it ends up being something that I will not have surgery for. I don't want my kids to see me in pain or be worried about me (they are too sweet). I am in a great deal of pain from my lump (most likely due to infection) I cant wait to hear from my doctor! Just need to pray that I get a little of good news thrown into his response. I am very scared of having surgery (never had in before) so I went online looking for answers to fill in some of the confusion about this and how it is treated. Your blog has helped me feel way better and settled my anxiety down quite a bit. Thank you for taking the time to help other people out that are worried, scared, concerned, or not sure about this. It is very considerate of you and very very very much appreciated. I hope all is still well with you and that your feeling better than ever! Thank you again,
Kate - Omaha, Nebraska

Kimmy said...

Kate Nicole . . . it is for people like you that I wrote about my experience, showing the ugly photos and all! I hope and pray along with you that your doctors will discern your health issues properly and that they will do what's best for you. Thank you for your kind words. I have a new photo to update for "10 months post-op" but haven't had a chance to put it up yet. Blessings to you and your family!

Anonymous said...

This is great! I too am looking for information on diagnosis and treatment of a neck nodule. Thank you.

Kimmy said...

Anonymous (from Nov. 20/14): Thank you for commenting. I'm always glad that someone has found this site to be beneficial and informative.

Jason said...

Hi Kim,

How long was your recovery time to get back to your regular every day life?

Kimmy said...

Hi, Jason. Regular normal life? Well, I can safely say that I wish I had taken a minimum of 10 days off from regular life immediately following my surgery. I returned to work 6 days following surgery, and that was tough. Two weeks off from the job I have would have helped with the healing process, I'm sure. But I was able to drive, be mobile, walk, etc. a few days after. I was not allowed to drive myself home afterwards, and even if that would have been an option, I couldn't have done it. I just think taking more time to rest and recuperate would have been a good idea. Hope this answer helps!

Maggie said...

Hi, Kim: I just got my diagnosis today and immediately found your blog post. Thank you for your honesty and for posting the scar pics. It is really vanishing! How long did it take for your voice to feel strong?
I am 50 and an actress/singer...a little worried about my voice after the surgery.

Kimmy said...

Maggie: Thanks for commenting. Well, for me, my voice has lost its endurance. I used to sing on a bi-monthly basis at my church on our worship team, but after a year of trying to return, I've had to give up that dream for now. That's because my voice could not endure a practice and then two services of singing in a row. By the end of the three sets of singing, I would have had no voice left. However, in your case, since you are already an actress/singer, you probably have exercises to rehabilitate your voice, which I never tried. I think it is different for everyone, and I'm actually surprised that my voice lost its endurance based on what the surgery actually is--it's not like surgery to the vocal chords, but maybe it's all connected in some way. I'm not sure. But I think if I would have re-trained my voice over the past six months, I'd be in a different place now. And like I said, everyone is different. I'll be praying that the surgery does not affect your ability to sing or project your voice for acting. :)

Shalini said...

Thank you so much for your blog- it was a very valuable reference for me, as there isn't alot of info out there about what the recovery is like- and most importantly, what might it look like. It's really helped prepare me, so thank you for sharing all of your photos. I'm 51 yrs old- and now 6 days post-op from having the Sistrunk procedure done. While my lump was a tad smaller than yours on the surface, once they opened me up, the surgeon says the cyst was much larger inside my neck, and was actually compressing and causing some deterioration of the hyoid bone (which they remove a portion of during surgery). So I'm so glad I did not wait longer to get this done, before more internal damage was done. ...The incision is healing nice (stitches come out tomorrow), but like you, I've got that odd ball-shaped swelling. My question for you at this point- was your swelling soft or hard? ...I guess I assumed it would be somewhat soft, and hopefully be able to resolve itself more easily- but mine, is quite firm, almost feels like there is something in there. (tennis ball? LOL) Just curious what your experience was like at this point. Again, thanks so much for openly sharing your experience. You are a strong and positive influence! :)

Kimmy said...

Shalini: Thanks for your comment. My swelling was hard, like a tennis ball, just as you described. It was very alarming to me, but thankfully the swelling subsided and eventually I was able to restore a "smooth" neck. My side profile has actually never looked better, now over a year later. My scar continues to be less obvious, and most of the time I forget that it is even there. I hope your healing continues to go well. God bless you!

Shalini said...

Thank you so much, this is great to know- and most of all, encouraging!!! :)

Michelle Forbes said...

Thank you so much Kim for you blog. I was diagnosed with my cyst almost 10 years ago and have been having it drained every couple of years since then given that I've been pretty terrified of the surgery. I've finally made the decision to have it removed now despite my fears and your blog has truly lessened those for me!Knowing what to expect truly does help.

I'm an avid runner and now my only real concern is how long will I have to wait before being active again after the surgery. Did you exercise regularly before your procedure? If so, how long did you wait after your surgery before being active again?
Thank you again for sharing!

Kimmy said...

Michelle: I can't say I was an avid exerciser before surgery, but would say that within a month you should be able to return to your running routine--maybe even sooner. I think it really depends on each individual and how the healing process goes. In hindsight I should have rested for a full two weeks before returning to my "regular" life, incorporating a little each day after the first 7 - 10 days. Your surgeon may have more to say about when you can return--he or she may suggest you wait until your 6 week check-up before returning to exercise. I'm happy to hear that my experienced has helped to lessen your fears and in the least, help prepare you for what you are about to endure. 10 years! Wow, I don't think I could have waited that long. God Bless You as you move ahead with the surgery. If you get a chance to come back to the blog to update me on how you're doing post-surgery, I'd really appreciate it. :)

Anonymous said...

I am day 4 post op and was delighted to find your blog. I'm v swollen and uncomfortable but soluble paracetamol is enough. The cocodamol has caused terrible constipation and has been horrible today. My voice is weak but the cough is getting better. I'm able to eat and drink but just tiny little bites as my neck hurts when I open my mouth!

Greg Botos said...

Kim. I am a 59 yr old male just diagnosed with the Thyroglossal Duct Cyst. Procedure in 3 months. Thanks for all the information. I was thinking I'd not have it removed. But, I see it is likely necessary, and not such a bad recovery. You have encouraged me now to 'go for it'.

Kimmy said...

Anonymous from April 23/15: I'm glad you were able to find this blog. Thanks so much for posting. I hope and pray all goes well with your recovery. Take care!

Kimmy said...

Greg: Thanks for your comment. I'm glad that you've decided to 'go for it'. It's good that you have time to prepare and research ahead-of-time. God Bless You!

SnowWolf said...

Hi Kim,

Thanks for the info and especially the pics of the stitches. I'm 41 and my doc is scheduling an op for me now. She's advised that my downtime will also be in the range of around 2-3 weeks.

- Tim, Malaysia

Kimmy said...

Dear Tim: I'm glad that the photographs helped. It is also reassuring to know that your doctor has advised that you will need 2-3 weeks of downtime. My doctor didn't give me that "memo", and I wish he had. I just had to take it easy for a couple of weeks and eventually life went back to normal. I hope and pray your surgery goes well.

Kblogger said...

Hi Kim, my daughter had this procedure on March 22nd. She is only two but has been excellent through this whole process. Pathology was good. Surgery was good. The issue we are dealing with now is the issue that you had. SWELLING. It's so hard because we have been watching her neck since Decemeber (the first time it got infected) and now it's looking exactly like a cyst again. I know in my mind that it is surgical swelling but I can't help but get that terrible feeling that we had before the surgery. She developed a deep cough and has became very "snotty" since Tuesday (March 29). The swelling has progressively gotten worse each day with today being the biggest yet. It looks like a big grape now. She has ran a fever so we have started her back on omoxacyllin with breathing treatments as well. She had a follow up appointment Wednesday and at that point swelling was nothing out of the ordinary. Doctor said everything looked good. I thought we were out of the woods but then swelling starting a week after surgery has brought fears back that I know God settled two weeks ago. It just feels like this is a never ending process but I know I have to let Him have control again. The wound looks good and doesn't look infected so I have to think the swelling is a result of the cough and the fevers a result of the little virus she has. Prayers please.

Kimmy said...

Kblogger: YES! I am praying for your daughter. It must be so hard as a parent to be going through this. It sounds like your doctor has everything under control with regards to avoiding an infection. Please update me if you get a chance in the coming weeks. I'd love to know how your daughter is doing.

Michele Birsner said...

Hi! I had my surgery 5 days ago and was also concerned about the swelling. I had anticipated pain but not the swelling. Ironically I had very little pain but a lot of swelling. Most of my discomfort is with eating. Reading about your experience made me relax a little as I was getting worried. My swelling is more horizontal just under my chin and jaw. Like a have a huge double chin. Makes it difficult to look up and down. I just want to thank you for sharing your experience. I see it has helped quite a few people. Michele

Michele Birsner said...

Hi! My surgery was 5 days ago after waiting 19 years after my first infection. After the third time I decided to get it removed. I had anticipated pain but not the swelling. Ironically I had little pain but lots of swelling!! Reading your post helped me relax a little. My swelling is more horizontal under my chin and jaw... Like a huge double chin! I had actually gone back to the surgeon 2 days ago fearing it was a build up of fluid. After he explored it with a needle (not an experience I ever want to do again) he determined no fluid. I hope it goes down soon! It is difficult to look up and down. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I see it has helped quite a few people including myself!!

Kimmy said...

Hi, Michele: I'm glad that reading about my experience has helped ease some of your anxiety about this. God Bless!

Kblogger said...

Hi Kim it's Kblogger again. My daughters recovery is coming along very well. Her last follow up was the 14th and the doctor said hers looks very good. When she is facing straight ahead without tilting her neck it looks like she has no swelling at all anymore. Only when she looks up or laughs is the swelling visible. Did you notice these same details in your healing experience?

Glassy said...

Hi Kim - Thanks so much for writing all this and sharing your photos. I had my surgery 5 days ago and was feeling really upset and alarmed about the swelling since I was expecting it to go down pretty quickly after the surgery. It's very reassuring to read that you and others had the same big firm lump under the chin too. I was starting to think my doctor messed something up! He certainly didn't tell me to expect so much swelling for so long... which is kinda a big omission!! If you have time to answer - long would you say it took for your swelling to go down completely? Was it about 2 months? Thanks again for sharing - all the info on your blog has been a huge help to me.

Kimmy said...

Hi, Glassy: Thanks for your comment. I am sorry it's taken me so long to get back to you with an answer to your question about the swelling. I would say that definitely one month after, the area was still very swollen . . . the lump was pretty much gone, but not all the additional swelling. I would say that two to three months after, the swelling was completely gone and that part of my body was back to normal, minus the scar, which remains with me to this day. My doctor told me that it would be a "thin, white line" in a year, but it's been almost 3 years since the surgery, and it's not white, it's not as thin as he led me to believe, and it's definitely still noticeable. However, I am not really that self-conscious about it as much as I once was. Occasionally I notice someone looking at it while they're talking to me, and then I have to remind myself what it is that they're fixated on. I hope your recovery goes well.

Jay ONeil said...

I just had my surgery on the 8th this month and came across your blog. Thanks so much for this and the photos. I am concerned about one thing, why did the site swell so much after the stitches were removed? I'm curious bc I'm not sure if mine will do the same. Th ks!

Kimmy said...

Jay O'Neil: I'm not sure about the swelling . . . maybe it's just the body's way of reacting to the incision. It was alarming for me to have such a huge area swell-up like that, but it eventually went away. Did you have swelling as well?

Anonymous said...

How long before your swelling was completely gone? Im 2 months po and still have some swelling