Parathyroid Gland Removal

  • The parathyroid glands consist of four individual pieces that are small and round.
  • They’re attached to the back of the thyroid gland in your neck.
  • These glands are a part of the endocrine system.
  • Your endocrine system produces and regulates the hormones that affect your growth, development, body function, and mood.
  • Parathyroid glands regulate the amount of calcium in your blood. When the calcium level is low in your bloodstream, these glands release parathyroid hormone (PTH), which takes calcium from your bones.
  • Parathyroid gland removal refers to a type of surgery done to remove these glands. It’s also known as a parathyroidectomy. This surgery might be used if your blood has too much calcium in it. This is a condition known as hypercalcemia.

Types of parathyroid gland removal surgeries:

There are different approaches to locating and removing the diseased parathyroid glands.

Radio-guided parathyroidectomy:

  • In a radio-guided parathyroidectomy, your surgeon uses radioactive material that all four parathyroid glands will absorb.
  • A special probe can locate the source of the radiation from each gland in order to orient and locate the parathyroid gland(s).
  • If just one or two on the same side are diseased, your surgeon only needs to make a small incision to remove the diseased gland(s).

Video-assisted parathyroidectomy:

  • Also called endoscopic parathyroidectomy, In a video-assisted parathyroidectomy, your surgeon uses a small camera on an endoscope.
  • With this approach, your surgeon makes two or three small incisions for the endoscope and the surgical instruments in the sides of the neck and one incision above the breastbone. This minimizes visible scarring.

Preparing for surgery:

  • You’ll need to stop taking medications that interfere with the ability of the blood to clot about a week before surgery. These include: Aspirin-clopidogrel-ibuprofen (Advil)-naproxen (Aleve)-warfarin.
  • Your anesthesiologist will review your medical history with you and determine what form of anesthesia to use.
  • You’ll also need to fast before surgery.

After the surgery:

  • You may return home the same day of surgery or spend the night in the hospital.
  • There’s normally some expected pain or discomfort after surgery, such as a sore throat. Most people can return to their normal activities within a week or two, but it can vary from person to person.
  • As a precaution, your blood calcium and PTH levels will be monitored for at least six months after surgery.
  • You might take supplements for a year after surgery to rebuild bones that have been robbed of calcium.


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