The purpose of parathyroid surgery is to locate and remove the abnormal parathyroid gland/s. Complications can occur, but are uncommon. Rarely, all four parathyroid glands need to be removed.
The hospital stay for these cases may be more than one night depending on the calcium level after surgery. Dr Alzubaidy will explain your specific surgery and why it is recommended in your case.
As with any surgical procedure, there are risks involved. There is a risk of bleeding, but this is very low. The risk of infection is so low that antibiotics are not routinely used. There is also a low risk of injury to the recurrent laryngeal nerves which control the vocal cords. Dr Alzubaidy may send you for a vocal cord check prior to surgery. Injury to these nerves could affect your voice. There is also the possibility that the abnormal glands could not be located or that your symptoms may reoccur over time. Occasionally, hypoparathyroidism may result after surgery. This is associated with low calcium levels and may require calcium and vitamin D supplements to maintain normal calcium levels. There is also a small risk associated with anaesthesia. The overall risk of complications is low, however, and is usually outweighed by the benefits of surgery. Dr Alzubaidy will go over this information with you.
What will happen in surgery?
You will be given general anaesthesia to put you to sleep. You are positioned with special pillows under your neck to tilt your head back. An incision is made at the base of your neck. Using magnifying lenses, Dr Alzubaidy locates the parathyroid glands and the abnormal one(s) are removed. The incision is stitched closed and is then covered with a dressing.
The operation generally lasts from 1 to 3 hours. Depending on the exact type of surgery you have you will either be discharged home on the same day of surgery or be admitted for an overnight stay.
How will I feel after surgery?
Everyone is different. You will most likely be a bit sore for a few days. You may have pain, not only from your incision but also from muscle soreness in your upper back and shoulders. This is from the positioning in the operating room during the surgery. You will have pain medicine in the hospital and a prescription for pain medication to take at home. You may have also have a sore throat. This is a result of the placement of anaesthesia tubes during surgery. Your neck maybe slightly swollen as well. You may feel like you have a lump in your throat when you swallow. This will improve after a few days but may continue for a week or so. If you notice sudden neck swelling contact Dr Alzubaidy’s office.