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When to call for advice following thyroid surgery? What is cause for alarm?

If Dr. Kroeker sends a patient home on calcium and vitamin D—meaning the patient was in the 15-percent of people after a total thyroidectomy who’s parathyroid glands were not functioning very well and needed calcium supplementation—if that patient goes home and has any symptoms of low calcium, it is advised for the patient to call Dr. Kroeker immediately.

The symptoms of low calcium are:

  • Numbness and tingling around the lips and the mouth
  • Numbness and tingling in the fingertips and toes

When a patient is experiencing these symptoms following surgery, Dr. Kroeker should be called immediately.

Another reason to call for advice would be if a patient had massive neck swelling or problems breathing, which would be an indication of bleeding.

If a patient is going to bleed, it usually happens within the first 20 hours after surgery, which is why Dr. Kroeker keeps all of her patients in the hospital overnight for observation.