General information:

There are 4 parathyroid glands in the neck, 2 on each side, their primary function is to produce parathyroid hormone (PTH) which maintains the level of calcium in the blood. In times of low calcium PTH withdraws calcium from the bones and places this in the blood streams, in times of calcium excess, it lays the calcium back in the bones and drives it out of the urine.

Reasons for surgery

  1. Primary hyperparathyroidism – a condition where either one (80-90%) or all 4 (10-20%) of the glands are overactive. This can lead to long term consequences including osteoporosis as well as kidney stones. Other consequences may include increased risk of cardiac disease as well as chronic lethargy and tiredness.
  2. Secondary hyperparathyroidism – condition specifically related to advanced chronic renal failure (your renal specialist will consult with you prior to surgery)
  3. Tertiary Hyperparathyroidism – Condition related to patients with renal transplants. (your renal specialist will consult with you prior to surgery)

Treatment:

Minimally invasive parathyroidectomy: a small incision (2cm) with minimal risk and excellent post operative recovery, it is used in well localized glands from pre-operative imaging.

Open exploration:

A slightly larger incision (4-5cm) to identify all 4 glands and removal of abnormal ones. High success rate 99% and used for non localized glands or where more than one abnormal gland is suspected.