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Clinical Note
May 18, 2009

Severe Hypocalcemia Complicating Thyroid Surgery After Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass Procedure

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Division of Head and Neck Cancer Research, Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions (Ms Durr and Drs Califano, Tufano, Koch, and Ha) and The Milton J. Dance, Jr Head and Neck Center at Greater Baltimore Medical Center (Drs Saunders and Ha), Baltimore, Maryland.

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2009;135(5):507-510. doi:10.1001/archoto.2009.20

Patients who undergo malabsorptive bariatric surgery have a high incidence of mild hypocalcemia and seem to be at increased risk for developing severe symptomatic hypocalcemia after thyroid surgery. We describe 2 patients who underwent prior Roux-en-Y gastric bypass procedures who later had thyroid surgery that was complicated by severe hypocalcemia in the postoperative period. We also emphasize the importance of screening patients for thyroid disease and of completing any necessary thyroid procedures before bariatric surgery to avoid this serious complication.