Parathyroid Surgery

Surgery is the only curative therapy for overactive parathyroids.

The surgery involves a general anaesthetic, and a small transverse cut in the neck. The objective is to find the overactive gland or glands, but there are 4 of them usually, and their locations can vary. More over, the normal gland is about the size of a grain of rice and the neck is a big place, so a knowledge of where they normally reside is helpful.

With modern investigations it is usually possible to localise the gland, and if so the chances of successful surgery (restoring the calcium levels to normal) is over 95%. In about 10% of cases the position of the gland is uncertain, and consequently the chances of success drop to about 90%.

Hospital stay is often only one day post-op. Occasionally however the calcium drops too low before normalising again and can delay discharge. Other complications are uncommon and wounds are closed with absorbable sutures.