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You may feel some pain and discomfort after parathyroid gland removal surgery.

Parathyroidectomy is a procedure in which the parathyroid glands are surgically removed. These glands are intimately associated with the thyroid gland, and function as part of the endocrine system, which tightly regulates the calcium levels in the body. If you have been referred for parathyroidectomy, you may be wondering exactly what the process involves, and what you can expect from the recovery period. Read on to find out more about the procedure, and when it may be recommended…

When is the surgery recommended?

Parathyroidectomy is most commonly performed in the case of hypercalcemia. Hypercalcemia is a condition that occurs when there is too much calcium in the blood. One of the functions of the parathyroid glands is to regulate the calcium in the blood, but if there is an overproduction of parathyroid hormone (PTH) in one or more of the parathyroid glands, hypercalcemia can occur.

Parathyroidectomy may also be recommended for the treatment of single gland benign adenomas, or multigland disease known as parathyroid hyperplasia. Parathyroid cancer is exceedingly rare and busy Endocrine Surgeons may only see a handful in their career.

What does the surgery involve?

There are a number of techniques available in approaching parathyroid surgery and that your surgeon chooses will depend on a number of factors.

The traditional form of parathyroidectomy involves a technique known as  four gland exploration. During this procedure, an incision is made in the middle to lower neck and the pathological glands are removed. Other techniques include minimally-invasive approaches that is a small incision either on the right or left neck and a single parathyroid is targeted.

When you see your surgeon for your initial consultation, they will explain the details of the procedure to you and let you know which technique is most appropriate for you.

What does the recovery involve?

After your surgery is complete, you can expect to experience minimal pain and discomfort when the effects of the anaesthesia have worn off. You will probably have a sore throat for some time, but you should be able to resume most of your usual activities within one to two weeks. If you feel pain and sensitivity in your throat, you may find it helpful to eat a soft diet and suck on Difflam lozenges while you heal from your procedure.

It is important to know that the recovery period differs from person to person, and your surgeon will let you know when to come in for follow-up appointments, as well as when you are well enough to get back to your normal level of exercise.

Your surgeon or referring Endocrinologist will monitor your PTH levels, as well as your blood calcium levels for around six months after your parathyroidectomy. This is a precautionary measure, and will help to ensure your overall health is maintained. Your surgeon may also recommend that you take supplements for a year or so after your surgery in order to increase your calcium levels.

How can we help?

Associate Professor Navin Niles offers a number of general and endocrine procedures, include parathyroidectomy. If you have overactive parathyroid glands and have been referred for surgery, we encourage you to arrange a consultation. Associate Professor Niles will explain the procedure to you, and let you know what to expect from the recovery process. He will also happily address any questions or concerns that you have about your treatment.

Associate Professor Niles is an experienced endocrine and head and neck surgeon. With a special interest in thyroid, parathyroid, adrenal and salivary gland surgery, you can rest assured that your treatment will be performed safely and effectively. He is a pioneer in the field of robot-assisted thyroid surgery in Australia, and his expertise allows him and his team to offer top-quality, personalised care to each of his patients.  

To arrange a consultation with Associate Professor Niles, please contact us here or give us a call on (02) 9810 9839.