What to expect after a parathyroidectomy?

A parathyroidectomy, or surgery to remove one or more parathyroid glands, is often the definitive treatment for hyperparathyroidism, a condition characterized by excessive secretion of parathyroid hormone (PTH). While the procedure offers relief from symptoms associated with hypercalcemia, understanding what happens post-surgery and the recovery process is crucial for individuals undergoing this intervention.

What is a Minimally Invasive Parathyroidectomy?

A minimally invasive parathyroidectomy is a surgical procedure performed to remove one or more overactive or enlarged parathyroid glands, restoring normal calcium levels in the body. Hyperparathyroidism, the most common indication for this surgery, can lead to complications such as kidney stones, osteoporosis, and fatigue if left untreated.

Parathyroidectomy Recovery Period

The recovery period following a parathyroidectomy can vary from person to person, but there are common trends and expectations:

Immediate Post-Surgery Care

After the surgery, patients are typically monitored closely in the recovery room for a few hours. Vital signs, including blood pressure, heart rate, and oxygen levels, are closely monitored to ensure stability.

Hospital Stay

Most patients can expect to be discharged 6 hours post surgery or spend one night in the hospital following a parathyroidectomy for observation and pain management. Intravenous fluids may be administered to maintain hydration.

Post-Surgery Symptoms

Some patients may experience temporary hoarseness or difficulty swallowing due to the proximity of the surgery to the vocal cords and esophagus. Mild discomfort or pain at the incision site is common but can be managed with prescribed pain medications.

Resumption of Activities

Patients are encouraged to resume light activities, such as walking, within a day or two post-surgery. Strenuous activities and heavy lifting should be avoided for several weeks to allow for proper healing.

The Long-Term Effects of a Parathyroidectomy and Follow-Up

While most patients experience relief from symptoms of hyperparathyroidism following a successful parathyroidectomy, there are some long-term considerations.

Monitoring Calcium Levels

Regular blood tests to monitor calcium levels are essential to ensure that the surgery effectively normalized calcium levels in the body. In some cases, patients may require calcium supplements temporarily until their parathyroid function stabilizes.

Management of Hypocalcemia

Following surgery, some patients may experience transient hypocalcemia, or low calcium levels, as the body adjusts to the absence of excess PTH. Symptoms of hypocalcemia may include tingling sensations in the hands and feet, muscle cramps, and fatigue.

Follow-Up Visits

Regular follow-up visits with a thyroid surgeon are important to assess healing progress and address any concerns or complications that may arise. Long-term follow-up care may involve periodic blood tests and imaging studies to monitor for recurrence or new parathyroid abnormalities.
A parathyroidectomy is a highly effective treatment for hyperparathyroidism, offering relief from symptoms and reducing the risk of complications associated with elevated calcium levels. While the recovery process may vary for each individual, understanding what to expect after surgery and adhering to post-operative care instructions are essential for a smooth recovery and optimal long-term outcomes. If you’re considering a parathyroidectomy or have recently undergone the procedure, consult with your healthcare provider to address any questions or concerns you may have about the recovery process.

Schedule a Consultation

Reach out to our team to schedule a consultation if you have concerns about your voice or thyroid health. Dr. Jason Cohen and his team will provide you with personalized guidance and solutions. Your voice is a unique and valuable aspect of your identity—take the necessary steps to care for it.

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