Parathyroidectomy is commonly recommended when the parathyroid glands are producing too much parathyroid hormone. This condition is called hyperparathyroidism. It is often caused by a small non-cancerous (benign) tumour called an adenoma. The entire or a nodule in the gland is hyper functioning.
During the surgery the parathyroid gland/s or parathyroid tumours is removed. The parathyroid glands are right behind your thyroid gland in the neck. These glands help the body control calcium levels. The operation is done through a discreet cut in the lower neck line, as indicated by the stippled line on the diagram.
- Hypoparathyroidism. This can lead to low calcium levels that are dangerous for your health.
- Injury to the thyroid gland or the need to remove part of the thyroid gland.
- Other complications may include bleeding, a hoarse voice, difficulty swallowing, numbness of the skin on the neck, vocal cord paralysis.
- Occasionally the wound swells due to a build-up of blood in the neck within 24hours after the operation. Wound infection is a rare problem and settles down with appropriate treatment.
- Rarely the wound needs to be re-examined in theatre.
- Chest infections may arise particularly in smokers.
- Aches and tinges may be felt in the wound for up to 6 months post-operatively. In some cases, there may be numb patches in the skin around the wound, which gets better after 2 to 3 months.
After your consultation:
- Obtain authorization from your medical aid and book your bed for your hospital admission.
- Carefully read through pre-operative information provided.
Day before surgery:
- Do not eat/drink after 22h00, the night before your surgery, unless otherwise specified by your surgeon or anaesthetist (you should be fasting for at least 6 hours before the procedure for solids but you are allowed to take clear liquids up to two hours before your procedure).
Day of surgery:
- Arrive for admission at indicated time on ‘Code & Consent’ sheet.
- Change into theatre attire, remove all valuable belongings.
Approximately 1-2 hours
Duration of hospital stay:
- 1-2 days (dependent on pain management, general state of patient and first bowel movement).
- Refrain from strenuous activities (incl. exercise) for at least 4 weeks post-operatively.
Back to work:
- Sick leave required post-operatively is approximately 7-14 days.
Some pain and discomfort post operatively may be expected following any operation, but the following measures are used to lessen the pain experienced:
- Warming devises in theatre as well as warm intravenous fluids.
- Intra-operative pain medication through the drip.
- Post-operative medication through the drip, please inform the nurses if you are in pain so that medication will be administered to you.
- As close to one week after discharge as possible. Please contact the rooms to schedule an appointment.