After Your Operation

Our Typical Calcium Dosing Schedule

Parathyroid patients take calcium after the operation

Our calcium dosing schedule has been developed over 25 years, taking care of over 34,000 parathyroid surgery patients. We understand the importance of giving calcium pills right after the operation, and we understand the importance of the type of calcium we use, and how much is needed. Our default for 90% of our patients is this schedule:

  • 5 pills of Citracal Maximum on the day of surgery (first one given 15 minutes after surgery, the rest are spread out throughout the day).
  • 5 calcium pills per day for the first week (spread them out throughout the day).
  • 3 calcium pills per day for the second week (spread them out throughout the day).
  • 2 calcium pills per day for several years to make your bones better. We have a lot more about this topic in our orange “Frequently Asked Questions” section of the app. Basically you will take calcium for as long as your bones are less than normal density.

Starting on more than 5 pills per day?

For those with very high calcium levels (above 12 mg/dl, or 3.0 mmol/L) or people with large, old tumors, or people that had several large tumors removed, we may put you on more calcium the first week or two. Often, we will start people with large, old tumors on 6 to 8 calcium pills per day. Again, don’t worry about this, we will help you through every step of the way. We will make it easy for you and will discuss this with you the day of surgery, before you leave the hospital, and then again when we call you the night of surgery. Yes, one of the doctors will call you the night of surgery and finalize our thoughts on how much calcium you should take (we will have your post-op PTH levels then and can interpret what it means).

Low calcium levels

Some people will get symptoms of low calcium (numbness or tingling in hands or face) a few days after surgery. This isn’t dangerous; it just means that you need to take more calcium.