Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Life Expectancy After Parathyroid Surgery

Surgery Is The Only Cure For Hyperparathyroidism

Post thyroidectomy – Life with Mabel

Surgery to remove an overactive parathyroid typically done on an outpatient basis is the only way to treat the condition. Once it is performed, Dr. Sippel said most patients experience improvement or resolution of at least 60 to 70 percent of their symptoms.

“Many patients, including Jean, describe it as life-changing,” Dr. Sippel said. “Their mood, energy level and ability to concentrate typically improve significantly, and they just feel so much better.”

For Jean, the journey to a better life included a few detours. It was not until her third parathyroid surgery one in Illinois and two at UW Health that the overactive parathyroid was found.

“My bad parathyroid was hard to locate because it was hidden within my thyroid gland,” Jean said. “Even after Dr. Sippel could not find it the first time she operated, she refused to give up and ultimately removed it the second time after a biopsy and additional imaging revealed its hidden location.”

Treatment Of Localized Parathyroid Cancer

For information about the treatments listed below, see the Treatment Option Overview section.

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How Long Does It Take To Recover From Parathyroid Surgery

Parathyroid surgery recovery time varies, but most patients can resume their normal activities within a few days of treatment. Dr. Larian typically recommends his patients take up to five days off from work or school after a parathyroidectomy. That way, patients can use their time off to prioritize their recovery.

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Will I Have Stitches

You will have stitches on the inside that dissolve on their own. You will have a waterproof Comfeel dressing so that you can shower or bathe as usual . Leave the dressing in place until your first post-operative visit, where it will be removed. Do not be alarmed if a small blood blister is visible under the dressing. If present, it will come off when the dressing is removed.

In patients prone to keloids, I use skin glue rather than sutures. The glue eventually flakes off by itself.

For parathyroid mini-surgery, the scar is about 1-1 1/2 inches . If you need a full neck exploration, it will be bigger . As a general rule, no matter which operation you need, it is unusual to have a very noticeable scar after six months. Scars continue to fade for three years.

Is It Ok If Part Of The Wound Isn’t Covered By The Bandage

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Occasionally the bandage doesnt cover the very edge of the wound. This is not a problem. The skin is sewn shut with stitches on the inside and the wound will heal perfectly fine this way. The steri-strip used on the wound is not meant to be a seal that keeps out germs. It is there only to help the stitches hold the skin together while the skin seals itself .

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What Is The Difference Between Parathyroid Cancer And Parathyroid Adenoma

A parathyroid adenoma is a benign growth in a parathyroid gland. Parathyroid cancer is when malignant cells form in your parathyroid tissue. Within the scope of parathyroid disorders, parathyroid adenomas are much more common than parathyroid cancer.

Both parathyroid cancer and parathyroid adenomas often cause your parathyroid to become overactive and release too much parathyroid hormone , which causes hypercalcemia. Hypercalcemia can be harmful to your body and health. Because of this, the most common treatment for both parathyroid cancer and parathyroid adenomas is surgical removal of your overactive parathyroid gland.

It can be challenging for healthcare professionals to tell the difference between a benign parathyroid adenoma and parathyroid cancer because their cells look similar. Further testing is needed after the overactive parathyroid gland is surgically removed to determine if its an adenoma or cancer.

Can I Break Calcium Pills In Half

We advise patients to take Citracal Maximum after parathyroid surgery. Yes, they are huge pills, and yes you can break them in half. It is also OK to crush the calcium pills and put into a cup of water, or put into apple sauce or yogurt. We put you on a high dose of calcium for the first two weeks after your operation, but after that, we dont really care what type of calcium you take. But you should still take at least 600 to 1000 mg of calcium per day to help your bones recover some density and strength.

Citracal has petite pills which are smaller than the regular ones, but they have less calcium in each pill. You need to take 3 petite pills for every 2 Maximum pills. Read the dosage on the bottle.

Bottom Line:

Yes, you can crush or break your calcium pills. You can take them with or without food. You should try to separate calcium pills from certain medications, particularly thyroid hormone replacement . Ideally, you should separate calcium and thyroid hormone replacement by four hours.

If you really cant stand the Citracal Maximum

There are other options. We like calcium CITRATE because it tends to be well tolerated. Most of the chewable calcium tabs out there contain calcium CARBONATE, a different form of calcium that often causes constipation if you take lots of it .Most forms of calcium CITRATE are in hard pill form, like Citracal Maximum.

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When Can I Fly Home

About 50% of our patients fly here to see us.

Those of you who fly into Tampa should plan on coming the night before and leaving the day after. There is virtually no reason to stay another day, and we have had well over 10,000 people get on a plane the very next day and fly across the country, or across the oceans.

If you are going to stay in Tampa, dont stay for medical reasonsstay to go to the beach or to Disney world. You should feel very confident to purchase airplane tickets for the day after the operation.

What Is The Treatment For Parathyroid Cancer

Hyperparathyroidism Symptoms | CENTER for Advanced Parathyroid Surgery

Surgery to remove the cancerous parathyroid gland is the main option for treatment of parathyroid cancer. Your surgeon may also need to remove tissue around your parathyroid gland or cancerous tissues elsewhere in your body if the parathyroid cancer has spread .

The following surgical procedures may be used for parathyroid cancer:

  • En bloc resection: Your surgeon will remove your entire parathyroid gland and the capsule around it. Your surgeon may need to also remove half of your thyroid gland thats on the same side as the cancerous parathyroid gland and surrounding tissues, muscle and nerves.
  • Tumor debulking: Your surgeon will remove as much of the tumor as possible. Some tumors cannot be completely removed.
  • Metastasectomy: Your surgeon will remove any cancer that has spread to other tissues and/or organs in your body, such as your lung.

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What Are Parathyroid Glands

Parathyroid glands are small hormone-secreting glands that are located on or near the thyroid glands in the neck region. These glands are responsible for producing specialized chemicals that regulate the concentration of calcium in the blood. Calcium is very important for the contraction of muscles and maintaining healthy bones.

How Will It Be Treated

  • You will be referred to an endocrinologist if you havent been assigned one alredy. They are the ones who will ultimately decide which medication you take, and how much. Because hypopara is a lifelong condition, youll be a patient of your endocrinologist for life too.
  • Everyones hypopara is different, and no two treatments are ever the same. Its likely though that youll get a free prescription for a medication called Alfacalcitrol which is an active form of Vitamin D that helps your kidney to , and possibly Magensium. You may also be prescribed calcium supplements. The ultimate aim of your treatment is likely to be that you will help your body to absorb all the calcium it needs from your diet, rather than relying long-term on calcium supplements which can have an adverse effect on your kidneys.

I found this fantastic site after my diagnosis and it has been a source of amazing information and support. Until I found Parathyroid UK I felt very isolated as so little is known about this condition. I would say to anyone else with hypopara to join this group, arm yourself with as much knowledge as you can.

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How To Diagnose Hyperparathyroidism

Hyperparathyroidism is easily diagnosed via blood tests which can depict high calcium and parathyroid hormones. Several diseases can cause high calcium levels but extremely high levels are only caused mainly during hyperparathyroidism. So, complete blood tests can provide the proper levels hence with a clear indication of its cause.

Further, few more tests can also be required in later stages to analyze any other complications or disease presence. Since, high levels of parathyroid hormones can greatly impact the bone density making the bones weak and fragile hence the body density tests must also be done at regular intervals. Abdominal ultrasound or scans along with urine test can clarify the presence of any kidney stones due to excess calcium presence. Risks of hypercalcemia, as well as hypocalciuria, can also be analyzed via tests.

What To Do Next

  • Become a member. Membership is free.The isolation caused by living with a rare, hidden condition can be tough to cope with on top of the physical symptoms. The chances are that you probably wont meet a fellow hypopara patient in your everyday life. Our community is a welcoming, safe space made up of members who were diagnosed with hypopara just like you have been. We know what might lie ahead and were with you every step of the way.
  • Ring our patient helpline for some advice and support, or just a sympathetic ear.

    01342 316315

  • Make sure your GP is up to speed with your condition. You might want to take some of our leaflets and publications with you. Youll probably need to have regular blood tests to begin with in order to find the right level of medication to regulate your calcium levels. Dont feel shy about asking for more tests.

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How Is Parathyroid Cancer Diagnosed

Parathyroid cancer can be challenging to diagnose. One reason for this is that the cells of a benign parathyroid adenoma and the cells of parathyroid cancer look similar.

A diagnosis of parathyroid cancer is most often made after your abnormal, overactive parathyroid gland has been surgically removed and further testing is done with the tissue. Sometimes, the surgeon is able to tell during the surgery that its parathyroid cancer.

Parathyroid Cancer Can Recur After It Has Been Treated

The cancer may come back in the tissues or lymph nodes of the neck or in other parts of the body. More than half of patients have a recurrence. The parathyroid cancer usually recurs between 2 and 5 years after the first surgery, but can recur up to 20 years later. It usually comes back in the tissues or lymph nodes of the neck. High bloodcalcium levels that appear after treatment may be the first sign of recurrence.

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What Are The Treatments For This Type Of Tumor

Once other causes of elevated blood calcium have been ruled out and a diagnosis of a parathyroid tumor has been made, surgery is typically pursued. Ultrasound is useful to specifically locate the tumor prior to surgery. Usually the affected parathyroid gland is excised directly from the thyroid gland, sparing the thyroid gland and leaving the remaining parathyroid glands in place. After surgery, your veterinarian will carefully monitor the blood calcium level and supplement with calcium or vitamin D if the level drops too low, as low blood calcium can lead to serious complications. Supplementation is then gradually weaned as the remaining parathyroid glands begin to function normally and regain control of blood calcium levels.

Another possible treatment is ultrasound-guided ablation, either ethanol ablation or heat ablation. Although ultrasound-guided ablation is less invasive, surgery seems to have the highest success and lowest rate of complications.

Is There Anything Else I Should Know

Overview of Parathyroid Disease (Causes, Symptoms and Treatment for Hyperparathyroidism)

The prognosis for long-term survival after surgery is good. Since parathyroid tumors are usually benign, excision is usually curative. Post-surgical hypocalcemia can cause serious, even fatal, complications, so your pet will need careful monitoring during the first few days after surgery until the remaining parathyroid glands return to normal function.

Contributors: Debbie Stoewen DVM, MSW, RSW, PhD Christopher Pinard, DVM

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High Calcium Level Was A Red Flag

“Your calcium level is elevated, said Julies gynecology nurse practitioner, Maria Wolf, APNP, with Mile Bluff Medical Center in Mauston, Wis. I want you to see your primary care doctor and have more testing done.”

At long last, the code of Julies agony was cracked. Much to her surprise, Julie was diagnosed with hyperparathyroidism, a condition in which one or more of the parathyroid glands each person has four becomes overactive and secretes excess parathyroid hormone , leading to elevated calcium levels in the blood and ultimately to the patients misery. The only cure for hyperparathyroidism is surgical removal of the overgrown parathyroid gland, located in the neck.

Accordingly, Julies primary care doctor, Ann Hoffmann, MD, in Mauston, referred Julie to UW Health endocrine surgeon David Schneider, MD.

Dr. Schneider showed me my bad parathyroid gland on the ultrasound and we scheduled surgery for three weeks later, Julie said.

Performed on an outpatient basis, the parathyroid surgery is typically done under general anesthesia, lasting about an hour.

Should I Take Fosamax Or Boniva

This is another really good question and the right answer depends on how bad your bones are and how much osteoporosis you have. We know that if you have hyperparathyroidism then these drugs dont help. Said differently, if you have been taking these drugs when your calcium was over 10.0 mg/dl then the drugs probably didnt do a thing. The PTH is far too powerful and it overcomes any good these drugs can do .

Another factor to remember is that several good studies have shown that the average patient gains significant bone density for several years after parathyroid surgery, and the bones get better just by taking calcium and a multi-vitamin. There have never been any studies that show taking one of these osteoporosis medicines will increase bone density in parathyroid patients or increase the rate of improvement after parathyroid surgery. This doesnt mean they wont help, it just means it hasnt been proven scientifically.

The bottom line is that this is a decision for you and your doctors back home to make. Some of you will have excellent endocrinologists and they will want to work with you on this long-term. We are not a big fan of these drugs, unless you have pretty significant osteoporosis. Otherwise, we like to suggest that you wait a year or two and see how much progress you are making now that the parathyroid tumor is gone. If your bones are getting better without these drugs, then that is what we would recommend. Again, ask your doctor for advice here too.

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Four Types Of Standard Treatment Are Used:


Surgery is the most common treatment for parathyroid cancer that is in the parathyroid glands or has spread to other parts of the body. Because parathyroid cancer grows very slowly, cancer that has spread to other parts of the body may be removed by surgery in order to cure the patient or control the effects of the disease for a long time. Before surgery, treatment is given to control hypercalcemia.

The following surgical procedures may be used:

  • En bloc resection: Surgery to remove the entire parathyroid gland and the capsule around it. Sometimes lymph nodes, half of the thyroid gland on the same side of the body as the cancer, and muscles, tissues, and a nerve in the neck are also removed.
  • Tumor debulking: A surgical procedure in which as much of the tumor as possible is removed. Some tumors cannot be completely removed.
  • Metastasectomy: Surgery to remove any cancer that has spread to distant organs such as the lung.

Surgery for parathyroid cancer sometimes damages nerves of the vocal cords. There are treatments to help with speech problems caused by this nerve damage.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy is a cancer treatment that uses high-energy x-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells or keep them from growing. There are two types of radiation therapy:

The way the radiation therapy is given depends on the type and stage of the cancer being treated. External radiation therapy is used to treat parathyroid cancer.


Supportive care

What Are Symptoms Of Low Calcium

Hyperparathyroidism: Evaluation and Surgery

A few of our patients will get symptoms of low calcium after parathyroid surgery. If you do, you need to take more pills. Less than 1 in 20 of our patients gets these symptoms.

The symptoms of low calcium are:

  • Tingling around your mouth, lips, nose and cheeks.
  • Tingling in your fingertips.
  • Feeling like your body is vibrating.

This only lasts a few days and is treated by taking more calcium.

We have lots more on this topic in the Post-Op Instructions section of this app.

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