Comparison of the Incidence of Postoperative Hypocalcemia following Total Thyroidectomy vs Completion Thyroidectomy

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To study the rate of postoperative hypocalcemia following completion thyroidectomy (CT), in comparison with the hypocalcemia rate following total thyroidectomy (TT).

Study Design and Setting

A retrospective study, performed at the McGill University Thyroid Cancer Center, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, from 2007 to 2012.

Subjects and Methods

Medical records of adult patients undergoing CT and TT operated by a single surgeon were reviewed. Data were extracted for demographics, postoperative calcium levels, surgical logs, and final surgical pathology. Hypocalcemia was defined as corrected serum calcium level ≤1.90 mmol/L, with concurrent serum parathyroid hormone <8 ng/L, and/or any signs or symptoms of hypocalcemia.


There were 68 CTs and 146 TTs. Transient hypocalcemia occurred in 1 of 68 (1.5%) and 18 of 146 (12.5%) patients in the CT and TT groups, respectively. The rate of hypocalcemia was significantly lower in the CT compared with the TT group (P = .02). In both groups, there were no cases of permanent hypocalcemia.


The risk of transient of hypocalcemia in patients undergoing CT is significantly lower than the rate of hypocalcemia in patients undergoing TT.

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