Thyroid & Parathyroid Problems
Surgical removal of the parathyroid glands is performed to remove them if they are producing too much hormone (hyperparathyroidism) or rarely to treat a parathyroid carcinoma (cancer). The operation is called a parathyroidectomy and may involve the removal of one gland (Single Gland Parathyroidectomy) or of all 4 glands (Total Parathyroidectomy) or sometimes 3 ½ glands (Subtotal Parathyroidectomy).
The most common operation is a single gland parathyroidectomy and often this can be performed as a minimally invasive procedure. It is usually carried out under general anaesthetic and here at My ENT Specialist we routinely use intra-operative laryngeal nerve monitoring.
The surgery is carried out through a small cut or incision in the skin in the lower part of the neck. Depending on the preoperative scans it may be possible to go straight to the the enlarged gland and simply remove or it may be necessary to explore and identify all 4 glands to find the enlarged gland or adenoma. This takes a little longer as often we will confirm the glands location with a biopsy and wait for confirmation before proceeding.
Most operations can be performed as day surgery. (NB. Not for Renal Patients). Generally, we prefer not to use drains following parathyroid surgery and your wound will be covered with a waterproof dressing
After your surgery
The symptoms of low calcium are tingling or numbness in your fingers, toes and lips and cramps and spasms of your toes and fingers. If you develop any of these symptoms you should take three caltrate tablets immediately. If the symptoms do not settle within 30 minutes you should attend your nearest Emergency Department. If the symptoms settle, then increase your caltrate dose to 3 tablets three times daily and call the rooms for advice.
Complications of surgery
Parathyroidectomy is very safe but like all operations there are some complications such as:
If you develop any breathing difficulties following surgery call the rooms immediately or go to your nearest Emergency Department.