Also known as parathyroidectomy, parathyroid surgery is a surgical procedure used to remove part or all of the patient’s thyroid glands. Problems affecting the parathyroid glands may result in an imbalance of calcium and this may necessitate the removal of one or more of the glands.
The parathyroid glands may at times develop benign growths that can lead to over or under-production of parathyroid hormone (PTH). Among other factors that damage the parathyroid glands and affect their production of PTH include nutritional deficiencies and the use of some medications such as lithium.
An imbalance of PTH affects blood levels of calcium. While having too much calcium can lead to issues like kidney stones, muscular spasms, and nerve pain, having too little can lead to symptoms like depression, exhaustion, and bone difficulties.
The doctor can decide if you need to have your parathyroid glands removed (parathyroidectomy) based on the results of blood tests, urinalyses, bone density exams, and imaging examinations.
Before the procedure
Prior to the procedure, the doctor may order imaging and laboratory tests such as:
If you are susceptible to infections as a result of an underlying condition affecting your immune system or another illness, the surgical team may administer an antibiotic just before your treatment. Medicine to reduce nausea and vomiting may also be given.
During the procedure
The doctor will first administer general anesthesia so that the patient is asleep during the entire procedure.
To access the thyroid gland and the parathyroid gland behind it, the surgeon makes a tiny incision in the skin of the neck and separates a thin layer of muscle. He/she can examine the parathyroid glands and remove those that are damaged or affected by the disease.
The surgeon will then return the muscles of the front of the neck to their proper position and secures them in place. He/she finally closes the skin using sutures or glue.
A parathyroidectomy is a routine surgery in the right hands, however it is still a surgery, so although any risk is minimised, side effects may include: 1. Sore throat 2. Bleeding and blood clots 3. Voice changes 4. Injury to the esophagus or trachea 5. Scar tissue that may require further surgery
Parathyroid surgery is performed to treat hyperparathyroidism, a condition in which the parathyroid glands produce excessive amounts of parathyroid hormone (PTH), leading to elevated levels of calcium in the blood. The surgery aims to remove the abnormal parathyroid gland(s) responsible for the overproduction of PTH.
The two main types of parathyroid surgery are: Minimally invasive parathyroidectomy: This is the most common approach and involves the removal of a single abnormal parathyroid gland (adenoma) through a small incision. Bilateral neck exploration: This approach is used when multiple or enlarged parathyroid glands need to be removed. It involves a slightly larger incision and a thorough examination of all parathyroid glands.