Hyperparathyroidism

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Are there any complications associated with parathyroid surgery?

Surgery for hyperparathyroidism is highly successful with a low complication rate when performed by surgeons experienced with this condition. About 1 percent of patients undergoing surgery experience damage to the nerves controlling the vocal cords, which can affect speech. One to 5 percent of patients lose all their parathyroid tissue and thus develop chronic low calcium levels, which may require treatment with calcium or vitamin D. The complication rate is slightly higher for hyperplasia than it is for adenoma since more extensive surgery is needed.

Are parathyroid imaging tests needed before surgery?

The NIH panels recommended against the use of expensive imaging tests to locate benign tumors before initial surgery. Such tests are not likely to improve the success rate of surgery, which is about 95 percent when performed by experienced surgeons. Simple imaging tests before surgery are preferred by some surgeons. Localization tests are useful in patients having a second operation for recurrent or persistent hyperparathyroidism.

Which doctors specialize in treating hyperparathyroidism?

Endocrinologists are doctors who specialize in hormonal problems. Nephrologists are doctors who specialize in kidney and mineral disorders. Along with surgeons who are experienced in endocrine surgery, endocrinologists and nephrologists are best qualified to treat people with hyperparathyroidism. Organizations that help people with hyperparathyroidism may have additional information to assist in finding a qualified health professional nearby.

Medically reviewed by James Felicetta, MD; American Board of Internal Medicine with subspecialty in Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism

SOURCE: National Institutes of Health (www.nih.gov)

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