Routine postoperative administration of vitamin D and calcium after total thyroidectomy: a meta-analysis

Int J Surg. 2011;9(1):46-51. doi: 10.1016/j.ijsu.2010.08.006. Epub 2010 Sep 8.


Background: Temporary hypocalcemia is a frequent complication after total thyroidectomy. Routine postoperative administration of vitamin D and calcium can reduce the incidence of symptomatic postoperative hypocalcemia. We undertook a systematic review to assess the effectiveness of this intervention.

Methods: We identified randomized controlled trials comparing the administration of vitamin D or metabolites to oral calcium or no treatment in patients after total thyroidectomy in MEDLINE, EMBASE and LILACS databases.

Results: Four studies with 706 patients were included: 346 in the calcitriol group, 288 in the oral calcium group and 72 in the control group. The rates of hypocalcemia symptoms were 4%, 19% and 31%, respectively. The OR value for the comparison between calcitriol + calcium as compared to no treatment and to exclusive calcium treatment groups was 0.32 (95% CI, 0.13-0.79) and 0.31 (95% CI, 0.14-0.70), respectively.

Conclusion: The prophylactic treatment with vitamin D or metabolites + calcium is effective to decrease the incidence of symptoms of temporary hypocalcemia.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Bone Density Conservation Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Calcium, Dietary / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Hypocalcemia / etiology
  • Hypocalcemia / prevention & control*
  • Postoperative Care*
  • Thyroidectomy / adverse effects*
  • Vitamin D / administration & dosage*


  • Bone Density Conservation Agents
  • Calcium, Dietary
  • Vitamin D