The parathyroid glands are four small glands, situated in the neck near the thyroid gland. The parathyroid glands secrete hormones to regulate the calcium levels of the body.
A blood test will include measurement of the parathyroid hormone levels. The calcium and phosphate levels are also tested. Depending on the surgeon’s assessment, a special (MIBI) scan and/or an ultrasound examination of the neck is used to identify the location of the abnormal parathyroid glands.
As with any operation, there may be some bleeding from the site of the operation.
The scar is usually sited within the skin crease. Most scars are more visible within the immediate post-operative period, but will be better camouflaged when the wound heals.
This nerve supplies the vocal cords. If one is damaged during the operation, the result may be a hoarse voice or a weak voice.
There can be low calcium levels following removal of a hyperactive parathyroid gland after surgery. Patients may need to take supplemental oral calcium for a few days to several weeks following surgery.
If there are persistently high calcium levels in the blood, there may be remnant parathyroid tissue either in the neck or other areas of the body. Further investigations or a second procedure may be required to find and remove the remaining parathyroid glands.