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Minimally Invasive Parathyroid Surgery


  • Minimally invasive parathyroid (par-ah-THI-roid) surgery is surgery to remove a parathyroid gland or parathyroid tumor (lump). The parathyroid is made of four tiny glands that usually sit next to or behind the thyroid gland. Parathyroid glands make hormones (special chemicals) that control the amount of calcium in your blood. If any of the parathyroid glands become too big or overactive, you may have a condition called hyperparathyroidism. Hyperparathyroidism is when parathyroid glands make too many hormones and cause you to have too much calcium in your blood. This condition may be caused by tumors, such as adenomas or cancer, kidney disease, or a lack of vitamin D in the body. This may lead to serious health problems, such as weak bones, fractures (broken bones), kidney stones, heart problems, and depression.
    Thyroid and Parathyroid Glands
  • Minimally invasive parathyroid surgery is usually done when only one parathyroid gland is affected. The affected gland should be less than 3 centimeters in diameter and not be malignant (cancer). The patient should also not have any thyroid disease and previous radiation therapy of the head and neck area. During this surgery, your caregiver will make small incisions (cuts) on one side of the neck or chest and armpit (underarm). Caregivers may use special tools, a radiation hand-held probe (wand) or a laparoscope to do the surgery. A laparoscope is a long metal tube with a light and tiny video camera on the end. This gives caregivers a clear view of the neck area while watching the images on a monitor. Your caregiver may also need to do imaging and laboratory tests during and right after the surgery. With minimally invasive parathyroid surgery, your hyperparathyroidism symptoms may be treated and your quality of life improved.


Take your medicine as directed.

Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

  • Calcium: You may need to take calcium medicine to keep your blood calcium levels normal. Calcium may also help prevent and treat bone loss. Your caregiver may also tell you to take Vitamin D to help your body absorb (take in) the calcium.
  • Over-the-counter pain medicine: You may use over-the-counter (OTC) pain medicines, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, for pain or swelling. These medicines may be bought without a caregiver's order. These medicines are safe for most people to use. However, they can cause serious problems when they are not used correctly. People with certain medical conditions, or using certain other medicines are at a higher risk for problems. Using too much, or using these medicines for longer than the label says can also cause problems. Follow directions on the label carefully. If you have questions, talk to your caregiver.

Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:

For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.

Eat healthy foods:

Choose healthy foods from all the food groups every day. Include whole-grain bread, cereal, rice, and pasta. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, including dark green and orange vegetables. Include dairy products such as low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese. Choose protein sources, such as lean beef and chicken, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts. Ask how many servings of fats, oils, and sweets you should have each day, and if you need to be on a special diet.

Rest when you need to while you heal after surgery.

Slowly start to do more each day. Return to your daily activities as directed.

Manage your stress:

Stress may slow healing and lead to illness. Learn ways to control stress, such as relaxation, deep breathing, and music. Talk to someone about things that upset you.


  • You have a fever.
  • You have pain in your neck area that does not go away, or gets worse even after taking your pain medicine.
  • You have chills, a cough, or feel weak and achy.
  • You have nausea (upset stomach) or vomiting (throwing up).
  • Your skin is itchy, swollen, or has a rash.
  • You have questions or concerns about your surgery, condition, or care.


  • You have trouble talking or you lost your voice.
  • You have trouble breathing or swallowing.
  • Your incision is swollen, red, or has pus or blood coming from it.
  • You have symptoms of low blood calcium. This may include the following:
    • Confusion.
    • Fatigue (tiredness).
    • Muscle spasms or muscle tightening.
    • Numbness or tingling around your face, hands, or feet.
    • Seizures (convulsions).
  • You have chest pain all of a sudden.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.