Call us directly: 512-491-0017

12319 North Mopac Expressway, Building C, Suite 260, Austin, TX 78758 View Location

What happens to my blood calcium levels following parathyroid or thyroid surgery?

15-percent of the time, after a total thyroidectomy, the parathyroid glands will temporarily shut down secondary to “bruising”. The half-life of parathyroid hormone is so short that by the time a patient gets to the recovery room Dr. Kroeker will check a parathyroid hormone level and calcium level. This usually allows Dr. Kroeker to know whether or not the parathyroid glands are working.

15-percent of the time, the parathyroid hormone level will be low, and calcium levels will drop, which means that Dr. Kroeker will start a patient on calcium and vitamin D supplementation. The remaining 85-percent of the time, the parathyroid hormone and calcium levels will be normal. Dr. Kroeker will check calcium levels right after surgery in the recovery room, again that evening, and finally in the morning just to make sure that the calcium levels are stable.

If a patient only has half of their thyroid removed, then their calcium levels should not drop. We each have at least four parathyroid glands, and one parathyroid gland is all that is needed to have a normal parathyroid hormone level. If a patient has two parathyroid glands that have not been disturbed on the side that was not operated on, then they should be working fine. In this case, the patient would not require calcium and vitamin D supplementation.