After Your Surgery


You will wake up in a recovery room.

  • If you had a minimally invasive parathyroidectomy, you will be discharged home when your blood pressure, pulse, and breathing are normal.
  • If you had a standard parathyroidectomy, you will stay in the hospital overnight. Your blood calcium level will be monitored. You should be able to go home the next day.

Pain will be controlled with oral pain medication.

Care at Home

  • You can resume your normal diet as soon as you feel able. (You may have a little trouble swallowing.)
  • You can shower 24 hours after your surgery, but do not swim or put your neck under water for 10 days.
  • You may restart driving when you are off pain medications and you are able to move your neck to see over your shoulder with no trouble or pain.
  • You can go back to work when you feel ready. Most patients request one to two weeks off from work.

Common Issues During Recovery

  • You may feel tired for several days.
  • You may have a mild to moderate sore throat. This discomfort is temporary and will get better with time.
  • You may have a little trouble swallowing. 
  • You may have mild swelling and bruising in your neck and upper part of your chest.
  • You may have low-grade fevers (less than 100o F) for a couple of days. You can take acetaminophen (Tylenol) to reduce the fever.
  • For mild pain you may take acetaminophen (Tylenol).
    • Make sure you DO NOT take more than 3,000 mg of acetaminophen daily.
    • If pain is more severe or doesn’t get better with Tylenol, take the medication prescribed to you (e.g. ROXICET / PERCOCET / VICODIN).
  • You may experience some constipation that is usually due to the pain medication.  If you experience this problem, take a laxative such as colace or milk of magnesia twice a day while you are on the pain medication.
  • Some patients experience hypocalcemia (low calcium) during their recovery period. See below for details.

Hypocalcemia (low calcium)

If you feel numbness of the face and/or tingling in your hands and feet, it’s a sign that your calcium level is too low.  This is usually temporary and can be addressed by taking calcium pills.

The most common way to take calcium is as calcium citrate:

Citracal RegularCalcium Citrate

  • brand name: Citracal “Regular”
  • dosage: 2 tablets (500 mg calcium and 400 units Vitamin D)
  • frequency: 3 times a day for the first week, then decrease to twice a day

You may take an extra dose per day if you are still experiencing numbness and/or tingling.

An alternative is calcium carbonate, but some patients experience gastrointestinal side effects such as constipation with high doses.

Caltrate

Calcium Carbonate

  • brand name: Caltrate 600·D3
  • dosage: 1 tablet (600 mg calcium and 800 units Vitamin D)
  • frequency: 3 times a day for the first week, then decrease to twice a day

You may take an extra dose per day if you are still experiencing numbness and/or tingling.


When to Contact Your Doctor

  • If you have a fever greater than 101° F.
  • If your pain is not controlled with the pain medication prescribed.
  • If you experience symptoms of hypocalcemia (low calcium) that do not get better with the extra doses of calcium as described above,or if such symptoms worsen despite taking calcium.

After hours and on weekends you may contact the answering service at 303-724-2728.


This information is provided by the Department of Surgery at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. It is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for advice about a specific medical condition.