(Parathyroidectomy—Open; Parathyroidectomy—Standard; Parathyroid Gland Removal—Conventional; Parathyroid Gland Removal—Open; Parathyroid Gland Removal—Standard)
DefinitionA parathyroidectomy is a surgery to remove parathyroid glands. There are four parathyroid glands located in the neck. The glands make a hormone that balance the level of calcium in the blood.
|Parathyroid Glands and Thyroid Glands (Back View)|
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Reasons for ProcedureThe surgery is done to remove one or more abnormal parathyroid glands. The glands may be abnormal due to cancer or for other reasons.
Possible ComplicationsProblems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:
- Low calcium levels in the blood—more common if all 4 glands are removed
- Wound infection
- Reaction to the anesthesia
- Skin tethering—tissues and skin may become attached to the voice box or windpipe
- Blocked airway
- Damage to nerves, which can cause problems like paralyzed vocal cords
What to Expect
Prior to ProcedureYour doctor will:
- Do a physical exam and ask you about your medical history
- Order imaging test such as ultrasound or parathyroid scan
- Have blood tests done
- Arrange to have someone drive you home from the hospital after surgery.
- Avoid eating or drinking 6-8 hours before surgery.
- Talk to your doctor about your medications, herbs, and dietary supplements. You may be asked to stop taking some medications up to one week before the procedure.
AnesthesiaGeneral anesthesia is used most often. It will block any pain and you will stay asleep through the surgery. In some cases, local anesthesia may be used instead. The area will be numb but you will be awake.
Description of the ProcedureAn incision will be made in the neck. Muscle and other tissue will be moved to locate all the glands. The abnormal gland or glands will then be cut out and removed. A drain may then be placed in the area. This will allow fluids to drain out of the area while you heal. If all four glands were removed, a part of one gland may be placed in a different area of the neck or in the forearm. The incision will be closed with stitches.
How Long Will It Take?20 minutes to several hours, depending on how many glands need to be removed
How Much Will It Hurt?Anesthesia will prevent pain during surgery. Pain and discomfort after the procedure can be managed with medications.
Average Hospital StayYou may need to stay in the hospital for 1-2 days. Your doctor may choose to keep you longer if you have any problems.
Post-procedure CareAt the HospitalAfter your surgery, the the hospital staff will:
- Observe you in the recovery room.
- Check on your ability to swallow and speak.
- Test your calcium levels.
- Show you how to change your dressings and care for your wound.
- Remove the drain if one was placed during surgery.
- Washing their hands
- Wearing gloves or masks
- Keeping your incisions covered
- Washing your hands often and reminding your healthcare providers to do the same
- Reminding your healthcare providers to wear gloves or masks
- Not allowing others to touch your incision
- You may be given calcium supplements.
- You will be given instruction about caring for your wound. Check your wound daily for signs of infection.
- You may want to eat semi-solid foods like ice cream or oatmeal for the first few days. These types of foods will be easier to swallow.