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What is Parathyroidectomy?

Parathyroidectomy is a surgical procedure that involves the removal of a part or complete parathyroid glands (which produce hormones that increase levels of calcium in blood). The treatment is indicated for patients with hyperparathyroidism (high levels of parathyroid hormone caused by a non-cancerous tumor).

Procedure of Parathyroidectomy

Parathyroidectomy is performed under general anesthesia. Your surgeon makes a long incision of about 2 to 4 inches in front of your neck to view and access the four parathyroid glands. The procedure can also be performed through smaller incisions through the following methods:

  • Minimally invasive parathyroidectomy: injection of nuclear medicine for visualization and a cut of 1 to 2 inches for removal
  • Video-assisted parathyroidectomy: two small incisions, one to insert the surgical instrument and the other, to insert a tiny camera
  • Endoscopic parathyroidectomy: 2 to 3 incisions in the neck and one in the collar bone to reduce visible scars

The diseased gland and the tumor is cut and removed carefully. Sometimes, all four glands are removed. In such cases, a part of one of the glands is implanted in the forearm so that its function is not completely lost. The incisions are closed with sutures.

Complications of Parathyroidectomy

Like all surgeries, parathyroidectomy may involve complications such as bleeding, infection, hypoparathyroidism (low levels of parathyroid hormone) and injury to the thyroid gland and nerves in the vocal cord.