Parathyroid gland removal
Parathyroidectomy is surgery to remove the parathyroid glands or parathyroid tumors. The parathyroid glands are right behind your thyroid gland in your neck. These glands help your body control the calcium level in the blood.
Removal of parathyroid gland; Parathyroidectomy; Hyperparathyroidism - parathyroidectomy; PTH - parathyroidectomy
You will receive general anesthesia (asleep and pain-free) for this surgery.
Usually the parathyroid glands are removed using a 2- to 4-inch (5- to 10-cm) surgical cut on your neck. During surgery:
The specific type of surgery depends on where the diseased parathyroid glands are. Types of surgery include:
Why the Procedure Is Performed
Your health care provider may recommend this surgery if one or more of your parathyroid glands is producing too much parathyroid hormone. This condition is called hyperparathyroidism. It is often caused by a small non-cancerous (benign) tumor called an adenoma.
Your surgeon will consider many factors when deciding whether to do surgery and what type of surgery would be best for you. Some of these factors are:
Risks for anesthesia and surgery in general are:
Risks for parathyroidectomy are:
Before the Procedure
Parathyroid glands are very small. You may need to have tests that show exactly where your glands are. This will help your surgeon find your parathyroid glands during surgery. Two of the tests you may have are a CT scan and an ultrasound.
Before surgery, an anesthesiologist will review your medical history with you and decide what type of anesthesia to use. The anesthesiologist is the doctor who will give you the medicine that allows you to sleep and be pain free during surgery and who monitors you during surgery.
Tell your surgeon:
During the week before your surgery:
On the day of your surgery:
After the Procedure
Often, people can go home the same day they have surgery. You can start your everyday activities in a few days. It will take about 1 to 3 weeks for you to fully heal.
The surgery area must be kept clean and dry. You may need to drink liquids and eat soft foods for a day.
Call your surgeon if you have any numbness or tingling around your mouth in the 24 to 48 hours after surgery. This is caused by low calcium. Follow instructions about how to take your calcium supplements.
After this procedure, you should have routine blood tests to check your calcium level.
People usually recover soon after this surgery. Recovery may be fastest when less invasive techniques are used.
Sometimes, another surgery is needed to remove more of the parathyroid glands.
Moalem J. Minimally invasive parathyroidectomy. In: Cameron JL, Cameron AM, eds. Current Surgical Therapy. 12th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:1550-1556.
Quinn CE, Udelsman R. The parathyroid glands. In: Townsend CM Jr, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 37.
Review Date: 9/3/2018
Reviewed By: Debra G. Wechter, MD, FACS, general surgery practice specializing in breast cancer, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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