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Alternative Names Return to topRemoval of parathyroid gland; Parathyroidectomy
Definition Return to top
Parathyroidectomy is surgery to remove parathyroid glands or parathyroid tumors. The parathyroid glands are right behind your thyroid gland in your neck. These glands help your body use calcium.
Description Return to top
You will probably receive general anesthesia (asleep and pain-free) for this surgery. Or you may receive local anesthesia and medicine to relax you. You will be awake but pain-free.
Usually the parathyroid glands are removed in open surgery, through a large incision (cut).
Your surgeon may use 1 of these 3 other surgery techniques. Your surgeon must know where any diseased parathyroid glands are before using any of these techniques.
Why the Procedure is Performed Return to top
Your doctor may recommend parathyroidectomy 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 benign (non-cancerous) tumor called an adenoma.
Your doctor 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 your age, calcium levels in your urine and blood, and whether you have thin bones (osteoporosis).
Risks Return to top
Risks for any anesthesia are:
Risks for any surgery are:
Risks for parathyroidectomy are:
Before the Procedure Return to top
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 makes you asleep and pain-free during surgery and who monitors you during surgery.
Fill any prescriptions for pain medicine and calcium you will need after surgery.
Several days to a week before surgery, you may be asked to stop taking drugs that make it harder for your blood to clot. These include aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), clopidogrel (Plavix), warfarin (Coumadin), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), and other drugs like these.
You will probably be asked to stop eating or drinking at least 6 hours before surgery.
Ask your doctor which medicines you should still take the day of surgery.
If you smoke, try to stop. Your recovery time will be shorter if you do not smoke. Ask your doctor or nurse for help.
Your doctor or nurse will tell you when to arrive at the hospital.
After the Procedure Return to top
Many times, 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.
After this procedure, you should have routine blood tests to check your calcium level.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
People usually recovery very quickly after this surgery. Recovery is fastest when less invasive techniques are used.
Sometimes, another surgery is needed to remove more of the parathyroid glands.
References Return to top
Sosa JA, Udelsman R. The parathyroid glands. In: Townsend CM, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 18th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2008:chap 37.Update Date: 1/30/2009 Updated by: Robert A. Cowles, MD, Assistant Professor of Surgery, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.