Surgery or surveillance for mild asymptomatic primary hyperparathyroidism: a prospective, randomized clinical trial

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2007 Aug;92(8):3114-21. doi: 10.1210/jc.2007-0219. Epub 2007 May 29.


Context: It is unclear whether patients with asymptomatic primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT) do better with parathyroidectomy (PTx) as compared with conservative medical management.

Objective: The aim of the study was to evaluate the beneficial effect of PTx vs. conservative management in patients with mild asymptomatic PHPT.

Design: We conducted a prospective, randomized study.

Setting: The study took place at a referral center.

Patients: We studied 50 patients who did not meet any guidelines for parathyroid surgery as recommended by the National Institutes of Health Consensus Development Conference on Asymptomatic PHPT.

Intervention: Patients were randomly assigned to PTx or no PTx and were evaluated at 6 months and at 1 yr.

Main outcome measures: We compared changes (percentage of basal) of lumbar spine bone mineral density (BMD) between the two groups at 1 yr.

Results: The change in BMD at lumbar spine was greater after PTx (+4.16 +/- 1.13 for PTx vs. -1.12 +/- 0.71 for no PTx; P = 0.0002). The change in BMD at the total hip was also significantly greater in the PTx group (+2.61 +/- 0.71 for PTx vs. -1.88 +/- 0.60 for no PTx; P = 0.0001). There was no difference in BMD after 1 yr between both groups at the one-third radius site. In comparison with those who did not undergo surgery, the PTx subjects, after 1 yr, showed significant differences in four quality of life measures as determined by the 36-item short form health survey scale: bodily pain (P = 0.001), general health (P = 0.008), vitality (P = 0.003), and mental health (P = 0.017).

Conclusions: In patients with mild asymptomatic PHPT, successful PTx is followed by an improvement in BMD and quality of life. Most patients followed without surgery did not show evidence of progression.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers
  • Bone Density / physiology
  • Calcium / blood
  • Calcium / urine
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Echocardiography
  • Endpoint Determination
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperparathyroidism, Primary / surgery*
  • Hyperparathyroidism, Primary / therapy*
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoporosis / etiology
  • Osteoporosis / prevention & control
  • Parathyroid Hormone / blood
  • Parathyroidectomy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life
  • Spine / anatomy & histology


  • Biomarkers
  • Parathyroid Hormone
  • Calcium