Parathyroid surgery: an evidence-based volume-outcomes analysis : European Society of Endocrine Surgeons (ESES) positional statement

Langenbecks Arch Surg. 2019 Dec;404(8):919-927. doi: 10.1007/s00423-019-01823-9. Epub 2019 Oct 8.


Background: The interest in correlation between hospital and surgeon practice volume and postoperative outcomes has grown considerably over the last decades; it has been suggested that surgery is likely to be associated with higher cure rates, lower morbidity and more favourable results in cost-effectiveness when performed in a high-volume setting. The aim of this paper is to undertake an evidence-based literature review of the relationship between surgical volume and clinical outcomes in parathyroidectomy for primary hyperparathyroidism. We used accepted quality markers to identify the relationship between volume and outcome with a view to defining a reproducible minimal surgical volume-related standard of care in parathyroid surgery.

Methods: A peer review literature analysis of volume and outcomes in parathyroid surgery was carried out and assessed from an evidence-based perspective. Results were discussed at the 2019 Conference of the European Society of Endocrine Surgeons devoted to "Volumes, Outcomes and Quality Standards in Endocrine Surgery".

Results: Literature reports no prospective randomised studies; thus, a low level of evidence may be achieved.

Conclusions: Parathyroid surgery is at increased risk of failures, morbidity and need for reoperations and cost when performed in low-volume settings; thus, it should be concentrated in dedicated settings, with adequate annual volume and expertise. Acceptable results may be achieved moving parathyroid surgery cases away from low-volume settings (< 15 parathyroidectomies/year). Challenging procedures (primary hyperparathyroidism without unequivocal preoperative localization, hereditary variants, paediatric patients, reoperations) should be confined to high-volume settings (> 40 parathyroidectomies/year).

Keywords: Outcomes; Parathyroidectomy; Primary hyperparathyroidism; Surgical volume.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Endocrine Surgical Procedures / adverse effects
  • Endocrine Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Female
  • Hospitals, High-Volume*
  • Humans
  • Hyperparathyroidism, Primary / diagnosis
  • Hyperparathyroidism, Primary / surgery*
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Parathyroidectomy / methods
  • Parathyroidectomy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology*
  • Postoperative Complications / physiopathology
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Prognosis
  • Quality Improvement*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Spain
  • Surgeons / statistics & numerical data
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Workload