Thyroidectomy in patients who have undergone gastric bypass surgery

Head Neck. 2018 Jun;40(6):1237-1244. doi: 10.1002/hed.25098. Epub 2018 Feb 8.


Background: Morbid obesity is a chronic condition that may be challenging to treat. Gastric bypass surgery is used to treat morbid obesity and its complications. Hypocalcemia, a known complication after thyroidectomy, is usually transient and treatable. There is a growing body of literature indicating that patients with previous gastric bypass surgery are at an increased risk for recalcitrant, symptomatic hypocalcemia after thyroidectomy. The management of hypocalcemia in patients with prior gastric bypass surgery may be exceedingly difficult.

Methods: Relevant articles published between 2008 and January 2017 were reviewed by topic. The review of literature was conducted using a systematic search of database resources, such as PubMed and EMBASE.

Results: Prior gastric bypass surgery may be an independent risk factor for developing profound hypocalcemia after thyroid surgery.

Conclusion: Refractory hypocalcemia in patients who have undergone gastric bypass surgery is underreported. Careful consideration should be given to performing staged thyroidectomy and, in some cases, reversal of the bariatric surgery.

Keywords: Roux-en-Y; gastric bypass; hypocalcemia; recalcitrant; thyroidectomy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Gastric Bypass / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Hypocalcemia / etiology*
  • Obesity, Morbid / complications
  • Obesity, Morbid / surgery*
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Thyroidectomy / adverse effects*