Complications associated with parathyroid surgery include injury to the thyroid gland or nerves in the vocal cord and difficulty breathing, according to MedlinePlus. Patients may also develop hypoparathyroidism, which leads to low calcium levels.
Patients undergoing parathryoid surgery may also experience bleeding, infection and health complications related to existing respiratory problems or heart disease, according to the American Association of Endocrine Surgeons. As of 2015, only one in 300 thyroid operations produce bleeding in the neck of patients which can compress the windpipe and lead to difficulty breathing. If bleeding occurs, surgeons can drain the blood to relieve the pressure.
Infections only occur in one of 2,000 thyroid operations as reported in 2015, according to The American Association of Endocrine Surgeons. Infections are typically treated with antibiotics or a procedure to drain the infected fluid. Patients may also be at risk for a seroma, which is a collection of fluid under the incision. A seroma swells and develops a full appearance. Minor swelling typically decreases within a few days or weeks; large fluid collections can be drained by a surgeon.
Patients may also experience a temporary change in their voice, such as hoarseness or voice tiring, according to The American Association of Endocrine Surgeons. As of 2015, only 5 to 10 percent of patients experience temporary voice changes.