The parathyroids are a group of usually four small glands tucked in behind the thyroid gland itself, which have a significant role in maintaining a strict level of calcium in the blood. In certain situations, one or more of these glands may enlarge, and cause an increased and unregulated increase in the calcium levels in the blood. This can cause further effects such as kidney stones, premature osteoporosis and bone fractures. Often the effects may be asymptomatic and identified only during routine blood tests.

Treatment and Surgery

Removal of the offending gland (parathyroidectomy) is often recommended to prevent or contain these side effects of calcium increase.

Certain imaging tests may be performed in an attempt to indentify which of the glands is enlarged (often due to it developing into a benign tumour). These include neck ultrasound, and nuclear medicine based X-rays. In about 70% of cases the enlarged gland can be localised preoperatively. In cases where the specific gland cannot be identified, a carefully selective exploration behind the thyroid will find the lesion (95% occasions).

Removal of the enlarged gland causes almost immediate fall in the levels of calcium in the blood.

Possible Complications and Risks

Complications are rare, but entirely possible and need to be discussed carefully with Dr Nicholson.

Instructions for Surgery for Parathyroidectomy

You may also refer to the Preparing for Surgery patient information sheet.

FASTING: (food & liquid) from midnight for a morning operation and from 7.30am for an afternoon operation, a light breakfast of tea and toast is OK prior to 7.30am.? Children under 14 may have clear fluids only up until 10.30am, (NO MILK) but definitely nothing after 10.30am.

FORMS: Hospital admission forms and anaesthetic forms should be completed and returned to the hospital at least 3 days prior to the date of your operation.? If you have any queries regarding your operation please do not hesitate to contact Dr Nicholson’s rooms.

Postoperative care for Parathyroidectomy

Dr Nicholson will provide you with specific instructions for post operative care.

*These notes are an outline only and should be expanded on in discussion with Dr Nicholson.

The patient information sheets are intended as a guide only and not to take the place of a full discussion of this procedure with Dr Nicholson

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ENT specialist | Head and Neck surgery | Head and Neck cancer | Rhinoplasty | Grommets | Tonsillectomy | Parotidectomy
Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery (FESS) | Sinusitis | Parathyroidectomy | Thyroid/Thyroidectomy

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