BACKGROUND: Optimal treatment protocol to prevent symptomatic hypocalcemia following total thyroidectomy is still matter of debate. We prospectively evaluated the efficacy of a selective supplementation protocol based on both early postoperative intact parathyroid hormone (iPTH) and serum calcium levels. METHODS: Two hundred thirty consecutive patients were divided in three different groups of treatment according to iPTH levels 4 h after total thyroidectomy (4 h-iPTH) and serum calcium levels in the first postoperative day (1PO-Ca): group A (4 h-iPTH > 10 pg/ml, 1PO-Ca ≥ 8.5 mg/dl), no treatment; group B (4 h-iPTH > 10 pg/ml, 1PO-Ca < 8.5 mg/dl), oral calcium (OC) 3 g per day; and group C (4 h-iPTH ≤ 10 pg/ml), OC 3 g + calcitriol (VD) 1 μg per day. Development of biochemical and/or symptomatic hypocalcemia was evaluated. RESULTS: Fifty-nine patients (25.6%) had subnormal 4 h-iPTH levels (≤10 pg/ml) (group C). Among patients with normal 4 h-iPTH levels, 25 (10.9%) had subnormal 1PO-Ca (<8.5 mg/dl) (group B). The remaining 146 patients (63.5%) had normal 4 h-iPTH and 1PO-Ca levels (group A). One patient in group A, 2 in group B, and 18 in group C developed biochemical hypocalcemia. Only one patient in group C experienced major symptoms. Treatment was discontinued within 1 month in all the patients in group B. At a mean follow-up of 303 days, five patients in group C were still under supplementation treatment. CONCLUSION: The proposed supplementation protocol seems efficacious in preventing symptomatic hypocalcemia. It could allow a safe and early discharge of most patients, thus avoiding the constraints and the costs of routine supplementation.