Neck Surgery

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Before the operation:

2 weeks before the operation you should not take any non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications.  These include Motrin, Ibuprofen (Advil), Aspirin, Naproxen or any medications containing these drugs.  All herbal medications should also be avoided as they can interfere with normal blood clotting and anesthetic agents.  If you take pills for high blood pressure, you should still take them the morning of surgery with sips of water.  One of the risks of the surgery is post operative bleeding which will be less likely if these instructions are adhered to.  How much time you will need of work from your surgery will be determined for each patient individually and should be discussed with Dr. Robichaud, before booking the procedure.

Patients will attend a pre-operative tour at the hospital where blood work and pre-operative testing will be done if any has been ordered.  If this is not attended and we are unable to contact you to confirm that you are still going ahead with your surgery, it will be cancelled.


After the Operation:

You will be discharged the same day of surgery in most cases.  A drain may be present that would be removed by home care, but this is uncommon.  This will be arranged through CCAC (Community Care) either at your home or their nursing office.   After your neck biopsy or mass excision there may be some tapes, called Steri Strips, over the incision.  These help reduce wound tension and result in a smaller finer scar.  You can remove these tapes 5-7 days after surgery by getting them wet in the bath or shower and peeling them off the neck.  The sutures may be dissolvable and or will be removed at your follow up appointment as needed.  It can be helpful to use Vitamin E or other cream over the incision, after the steri strips are removed,  for about a month to aid in healing.  You can shower the day after  you go home but should have a Band-Aid over any drain sites.

If you develop significant swelling over the incision site, redness you should  contact the office or go to the nearest emergency room for treatment. Following your surgery you should expect to have some neck pain and possibly a minor headache in addition to the pain at the incision site.  This is from the positioning required to perform the procedure.  The neck is extended to optimize access to the surgical area. There can be some transient loss of sensation in the area of the surgery as well, in some cases, but this will return over several weeks time  If you have had a salivary gland removed, you may experience some weakness around the muscle below your mouth, called the Mentalis, temporarily from retraction in the area of this nerve. This generally resolves in several weeks, but can in rare cases be permanent and would be discussed prior to booking your surgery.

You should avoid any heavy lifting or strenuous activity for 10-14 days after surgery to prevent tearing the sutures, or causing unwanted bleeding.  Anti coagulants may generally be resumed by five days following surgery unless otherwise specified.

Follow up is recommended at 1-2 weeks following surgery. It is important that you don’t wait too long to book your follow up as that can make it very difficult to accommodate a timely appointment. Depending on the reason for the procedure, pathology results can take 10 days to 3 weeks to become available.