Hypocalcemia: The potential consequence of thyroidectomy

Written by: Dr. Antonio Sitges Serra
Edited by: Top Doctors®

Hypocalcemia is decreased calcium concentration in the blood. There is a relationship between thyroid surgery, known as thyroidectomy, and a likely decline in the concentration of calcium in the blood.

hypocalcemia Next to the thyroid gland and sometimes glued to it, there are four tiny glands, the size of a lentil, which have the function of keeping the concentration of calcium in the blood at its normal level.

These glands have nothing to do with the normal functions of the thyroid gland, but, through the secretion of a hormone called parathyroid hormone, facilitate the absorption of calcium from the intestine and avoid being lost in the urine.

Generally, in this operation of general surgery of thyroid gland removal media (thyroidectomy) because there are no complications, even if the surgeon accidentally damages the two parathyroid glands on the side where it is operating, the other two can fulfill its mission alone.

Problems arise when dealing with an operation that involves both sides of the thyroid (total thyroidectomy): small glands may then run the risk of being extirpated or injured. As a consequence, it produces a sudden drop in the production of parathyroid hormone and an immediately occurs a decrease in blood calcium.

The appliance must be, to all patients who undergo total thyroidectomy operation, specific tests to control the level of calcium and vitamin D in the blood, in order to have to start treatment as soon as possible.


Symptoms of hypocalcemia

  • Tingling in the feet, hands and mouth
  • Muscle spasms
  • Feeling tired

Generally, postoperative hypocalcemia is usually temporary. Although there are patients who are permanently affected and should take calcium throughout life.

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

By Dr. Antonio Sitges Serra

Renowned surgeon first level, Dr. Sitges Serra doctorate in Medicine and Surgery and specialized in endocrine surgery in Lyon, Newcastle and Minneapolis. At present, he serves as Head of Department of Surgery at the University Hospital del Mar in Barcelona, ​​as well as Professor of Surgery at the Autonomous University of Barcelona and the University Pompeu Fabra. He has published more than 400 scientific articles and book chapters and has been recognized by numerous associations of surgeons, nationally and internationally, as the European Society of Endocrine Surgeons of which he was president (2014-16). He is an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons and an associate editor of the British Journal of Surgery, the leading European journal in the field of surgery. Highlights its clinical and scientific to benign and malignant diseases of the thyroid gland (thyroidectomy over 3000) and parathyroid glands (800 parathyroidectomies), why visit many patients requiring reoperation for failure after previous interventions dedication.

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

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