Parathyroid autotransplantation during thyroidectomy

ANZ J Surg. 2002 Dec;72(12):902-7. doi: 10.1046/j.1445-2197.2002.02580.x.


Permanent hypoparathyroidism is a debilitating morbidity following thyroidectomy, with a reported incidence of up to 43%. Apart from meticulous dissection to preserve parathyroid glands and their blood supply, parathyroid autotransplantation (PA) has been increasingly employed to preserve parathyroid function. The adoption of PA during thyroidectomy has been reported to be associated with a low incidence of permanent hypoparathyroidism. Biochemical function of parathyroid autografts can be demonstrated objectively by forearm reimplantation or during long-term follow up. The clearest indication for PA is for inadvertently removed or devascularized parathyroid glands during thyroid surgery. Other strategies, including routine autotransplantation of at least one parathyroid gland, can be considered, but is associated with a high incidence of transient hypocalcaemia. Apart from refinement in technique to facilitate graft success, a reliable way to assess overall parathyroid function or viability of individual parathyroid gland may assist in monitoring parathyroid function and selecting patients requiring this procedure to prevent permanent hypoparathyroidism.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Calcium / blood
  • Diagnostic Techniques, Endocrine
  • Forearm
  • Humans
  • Hyperparathyroidism / etiology
  • Hypoparathyroidism / prevention & control
  • Parathyroid Glands / blood supply
  • Parathyroid Glands / transplantation*
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control
  • Postoperative Period
  • Thyroidectomy* / adverse effects
  • Transplantation, Autologous


  • Calcium