How radical is total parathyroidectomy in patients with renal hyperparathyroidism?

Langenbecks Arch Surg. 2018 Dec;403(8):1007-1013. doi: 10.1007/s00423-018-1739-1. Epub 2018 Dec 5.


Purpose: Total parathyroidectomy (tPTX) in patients with renal hyperparathyroidism (RHPT) aims at the complete removal of all hyperfunctioning parathyroid tissue. Whenever parathyroidectomy is termed "total," undetectable postoperative parathyroid hormone (PTH) levels within the first postoperative week are expected. The aim of this study was to evaluate if tPTX is technically possible using a radical surgical procedure.

Methods: In 109 consecutive patients with RHPT (on hemodialysis: n = 50; after kidney grafting n = 59), removal of all visible parathyroid tissue, bilateral thymectomy, bilateral central neck dissection (level VI), and immediate autotransplantation (AT) was performed. Intact PTH (iPTH) levels were measured in the first postoperative week. PTX was classified "total" when iPTH dropped below 10 pg/ml, "subtotal" between 10 and 65 pg/ml, and "insufficient" where levels stayed above 65 pg/ml.

Results: According to the postoperative PTH value, tPTX was achieved in 80 of 109 (73.4%) patients (hemodialysis n = 27, normal kidney function: n = 43, restricted: n = 10). PTX was "subtotal" in 25 patients (22.9%), 19 on hemodialysis, 2 had normal, and 4 had restricted kidney graft function. PTX turned out to be insufficient in four patients (3.7%); all of them were on hemodialysis. Insufficient PTX was not observed in kidney-grafted patients. Postoperative temporary laryngeal nerve morbidity was 1.8% (no permanent paresis).

Conclusions: Although applying a very radical concept in patients with RHPT, PTX was "total" in only 73.4%. Persistence of disease was avoided in 91.7%, and low morbidity was documented. In conclusion, it seems difficult to remove all parathyroid tissue from the neck which has to be considered when choosing the surgical procedure.

Keywords: Central neck dissection; Renal hyperparathyroidism; Tertiary hyperparathyroidism; Total parathyroidectomy; Transcervical thymectomy.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperparathyroidism, Secondary / complications
  • Hyperparathyroidism, Secondary / surgery*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / complications
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neck Dissection
  • Parathyroid Hormone / blood
  • Parathyroidectomy*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Thymectomy
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Parathyroid Hormone