What is a parathyroidectomy?
A parathyroidectomy is a procedure in which the doctor removes part or all of your parathyroid glands.
When is a parathyroidectomy indicated?
The parathyroid glands help control the levels of calcium and phosphorus in the blood. Abnormal cells or cancer may change those levels. As a result, your bones may become weak; In addition, you may develop kidney stones, weakness in your muscles, decreased alertness, or stomach pain. Symptoms may also present as a lump in your neck. This procedure is done when you have abnormal cells in the glands or the glands are over active.
An alternative to surgical intervention is to continue to monitor blood levels, recognizing the risk associated with these abnormal levels. You should discuss risk and benefits for both options with your physician.
How do I prepare for a parathyroidectomy?
Plan for your care and recovery after the operation. Allow for time to rest and try to find people to help you with day-to-day activities. Follow any instructions given by your physician both before and after surgery.
What happens during the procedure?
You will likely be given a general anesthetic; this will relax your muscles and make you feel like you are in a deep sleep. The anesthetic is meant to prevent you from feeling anything during the procedure. The doctor will make an incision along the neck exposing the parathyroid glands. The glands or portions of the glands will be removed, depending on what is needed. Follow up care will be given after the procedure by the physician/hospital staff.