Behind the thyroid gland in the neck are the 4 small parathyroid glands work to make the parathyroid hormone (PTH), which controls calcium levels in the body. Too little PTH causes the body to develop hypoparathyroidism and calcium will be taken from the bones. Too much PTH causes hyperparathyroidism (also known as hypercalcemia), which overproduces calcium in the body. The excess calcium in the body can cause kidney stones and kidney failure, so a parathyroidectomy is performed to remove all or part of the parathyroid. If only one parathyroid is abnormal, a partial parathyroidectomy can remove the one gland that is causing problems. However, if the entire parathyroid is enlarged (a condition known as parathyroid hyperplasia) a total parathyroidectomy will be performed to remove all 4 parathyroid glands. Patients who have been diagnosed with hyperparathyroidism or another parathyroid disease should schedule a consultation at Arizona Premier Surgery to learn more about their surgical options from a qualified surgeon.
Common Reasons for Surgery
Once the parathyroid become enlarged and begins to overproduce PTH (a condition known as parathyroidism or hypercalcemia), the most definitive treatment is a total parathyroidectomy. By removing the parathyroid glands, the levels of calcium in the blood can normalize. If only one of the parathyroid glands is abnormal, a partial parathyroidectomy (also known as a minimally invasive parathyroidectomy) can be performed for a shorter surgery that needs less recovery time.
Secondary hyperparathyroidism starts with kidney failure, which causes high levels of PTH in the blood. Removing part or all of the parathyroid can balance the calcium levels in the body and improve the function of the kidney.
When the body's calcium levels are high, it can cause calcium phosphate stones, commonly known as kidney stones. It is important to determine the cause of kidney stones in a patient because if it is caused by hyperparathyroidism, a parathyroidectomy can be a good treatment option.
When a tumor (adenoma) appears on the parathyroid, it may need to be removed with a parathyroidectomy. Even though most tumors on the parathyroid are benign and do not develop into cancer, removing the parathyroid may be a preventative measure for patients who have or had thyroid cancer.
A traditional parathyroidectomy requires the surgeon to make an incision in the neck so the parathyroid can be seen and assessed. During this bilateral neck exploration, the surgeon will be able to remove any diseased parathyroid glands. A partial parathyroidectomy can be performed with an endoscope, using 2 – 3 small incisions to remove the needed glands. In some cases, the total or partial removal of the parathyroid gland may require the patient to take calcium supplements to prevent hypoparathyroidism (a condition where the body makes too little calcium).
What to Expect
A total or partial parathyroidectomy usually takes about 2 hours and it is performed as an out-patient surgery. The patient should be able to leave the same day as their surgery to begin their 2-week recovery at home. Patients should have a follow up appointment with their doctor 2 weeks after their surgery for a progress check, calcium levels, and to discuss any needed next steps.
Plan Your Procedure
- Recovery Time
- 2 Weeks
- Average Procedure Time
- 2 Hours
- Post-op Follow-up
- 2 Weeks
- Procedure Recovery Location
Safe Removal Surgery
If you have symptoms of hyperparathyroidism (fatigue, nausea, bone fractures, kidney stone, excessive thirst, and more), please schedule an appointment at Arizona Premier Surgery to learn more about the disease and if a parathyroidectomy is a good option for your needs.