Increasing trend of bilateral neck exploration in primary hyperparathyroidism

Am J Surg. 2020 Mar;219(3):466-470. doi: 10.1016/j.amjsurg.2019.09.039. Epub 2019 Oct 3.


Background: Bilateral neck exploration was the standard operation for primary hyperparathyroidism. With improvements in preoperative localization and use of intraoperative PTH (ioPTH) monitoring, minimally invasive unilateral neck exploration has been widely adopted. This study evaluates the trend in parathyroidectomies for primary hyperparathyroidism.

Methods: Parathyroidectomy for sporadic primary hyperparathyroidism was analyzed from 2010 to 2017. Exclusion criteria included previous neck surgery and concomitant procedures. The operations were classified as unilateral exploration (UE), UE converted to bilateral exploration (BE), or BE. Variables included preoperative and intraoperative factors. Outcomes included persistence, recurrence, permanent hypocalcemia and recurrent laryngeal nerve (RLN) injury.

Results: Four hundred thirty-one patients were reviewed. Since 2010, the rate of BE has increased from 30% to 50%. Disease duration, presence of bone disease, negative localization, baseline ioPTH <100, and ≥2 abnormal glands have increased. Mean operative time has not changed over time. Two percent of patients had persistent disease, <1% had recurrent disease, and 2% have had reoperation. Nine percent had temporary hypoparathyroidism, and 15 patients had temporary RLN injury.

Conclusions: This study shows an increasing trend in BE for primary hyperparathyroidism. This increase was associated with lower baseline intraoperative parathyroid hormone (ioPTH) levels and smaller gland size. The operative approach for parathyroidectomy should be individualized and surgeons should not hesitate to perform BE when needed.

Keywords: Minimally invasive parathyroidectomy; Parathyroid exploration; Parathyroidectomy; Primary hyperparathyroidism.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Decision Making
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperparathyroidism, Primary / diagnostic imaging
  • Hyperparathyroidism, Primary / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Minimally Invasive Surgical Procedures / trends*
  • Parathyroidectomy / trends*
  • Retrospective Studies