Parathyroidectomy is an operation in which one or more parathyroid glands are removed. This operation is performed in order to control hyperparathyroidism (excess hormone production by the parathyroid glands), which is either caused by a benign tumor in one or more of the glands (parathyroid adenoma), or generalized growth and over activity in all of the glands (parathyroid hyperplasia). Using a minimally invasive approach, a small incision is made on the neck over the site where the abnormal parathyroid gland is located and the tumor is removed. In some rare instances, this surgery is performed on the parathyroid glands in order to remove a cancerous tumor.
Hyperparathyroidism is typically associated with loss of calcium from the bones (osteoporosis), elevated serum calcium (hypercalcemia), generalized weakness and fatigue, lethargy, kidney stones, stomach ulcers, joint aches, body pains, and constipation.
The frequency of complications of surgery is very low. Possible complications include: bleeding, reaction to anesthesia, wound infection, need for repeat procedures if hormone levels remain too high, nerve damage, recurrence of elevated calcium levels, unacceptably low calcium levels requiring calcium replacement, and injury to the laryngeal nerve which causes hoarseness.