What is Parathyroidectomy?


Know the basics

What is Parathyroidectomy?

Most people have four parathyroid glands, which are in your neck and control the balance of calcium in your blood by making parathyroid hormone (PTH). One or more of the parathyroid glands can become overactive, causing an increase in the level of calcium. The most common symptom is bone pain.

Why is Parathyroidectomy performed?

Parathyroidectomy is necessary when calcium levels are elevated, if there is a complication of hyperparathyroidism (such as kidney stones, osteoporosis, or bone fractures), or if a patient is relatively young.

After receiving parathyroidectomy, your symptoms should improve. You should have less risk of permanent damage to your bones, kidneys or heart.

Understand the risks

What are the risks of Parathyroidectomy?

Surgery may be unsuccessful, that is, the hyperparathyroidism may not be cured and there may be complications of the surgery. Because individuals differ in their response to surgery, their reaction to the anesthetic and their healing following surgery, there can be no guarantee made as to the results or the lack of complications. Furthermore, the outcome of surgery may depend on preexisting or concurrent medical conditions.

It is important you understand the risks and complications before having this surgery. If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor or surgeon for more information.

Know what happens

How do I prepare for Parathyroidectomy?

You must discuss to your doctor about your recent medications, your allergies or any of your health conditions and before having an operation, you will meet your anaesthetist and plan your anaesthetic together. It’s important to follow the instructions about when to stop eating and drinking prior to surgery.

You should be given clear instructions to follow before the operation, including whether you can eat anything in the hours leading up to it. In most cases, you should start fasting about six hours before your procedure. You may be able to drink fluids, such as coffee, until a few hours before your surgery.

What happens during Parathyroidectomy?

The operation is usually performed under a general anaesthetic. The operation usually takes about an hour.

Your surgeon will make a cut on your neck in the line of one of your skin creases and remove any enlarged glands.

What should I do after receiving parathyroidectomy?

You should be able to go home after one to two days.

You should be able to return to work and normal activities after about two weeks.

Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.

A normal gland that was not removed may become overactive in the future.

If you have any questions or concerns, please consult with your doctor or surgeon for more information.


What happens after Parathyroidectomy?

As with every procedure, there are some risks. You should ask your surgeon to explain how these risks apply to you.

The possible complications of any procedure include an unexpected reaction to the anaesthetic, excessive bleeding or developing a blood clot (deep vein thrombosis, DVT).

For a parathyroidectomy operation, there are specific complications which are:

  • Change in your voice
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Drop in calcium levels
  • Failure of the operation

You can reduce your risk of complications by carefully following your doctor’s instructions for preparing for the surgery, such as fasting and stopping certain medications.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


Review Date: January 1, 2017 | Last Modified: September 6, 2018