Hypothesis: Minimally invasive surgery for primary hyperparathyroidism has become an accepted part of endocrine surgical practice worldwide.
Design: Survey of members of the International Association of Endocrine Surgeons.
Setting: Clinical practice of endocrine surgeons worldwide.
Main outcome measures: Numbers of parathyroid procedures performed, types of minimally invasive procedures undertaken, and techniques used to ensure completeness of removal of hyperfunctioning parathyroid tissue as reported by the survey respondents.
Results: Of 160 surveys completed, 95 (59%) indicate that the surgeons currently perform minimally invasive parathyroidectomy and use this technique on average for 44% of patients with primary hyperparathyroidism. The most common approach is the focused technique with a small incision, either central or lateral (92% [87 respondents]), followed by a video-assisted technique (22% [21 respondents]), and a true endoscopic technique with gas insufflation (12% [11 respondents]). Techniques used to ensure completeness of resection include the quick intraoperative intact parathyroid hormone assay (68% [65 respondents]), a same-day intact parathyroid hormone assay (17% [16 respondents]), and the nuclear probe (14% [13 respondents]). The number of parathyroidectomies performed worldwide increased from 1727 in 1980 to 6977 in 2000 with the average number per surgeon increasing from 23 in 1980 to 45 in 2000. Geographically, 20 (59%) of 34 surveys from the Americas report the use of minimally invasive parathyroidectomy, 23 (56%) of 41 from the Australasian region, and 34 (49%) of 69 from Europe or the Middle East.
Conclusions: The number of parathyroidectomies performed for primary hyperparathyroidism has increased worldwide over the past 20 years. More than half of the surgeons responding to the survey perform minimally invasive parathyroidectomy, with the most using the focused small-incision technique.