August 1996

Reoperation for Persistent or Recurrent Primary Hyperparathyroidism

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Surgery (Mr Shen and Drs Düren, Duh, Siperstein, and Clark), Radiology (Dr Higgins), and Nuclear Medicine (Dr Morita), University of California—San Francisco/Mt Zion Medical Center, San Francisco, Calif, and Department of Veterans Affairs, San Francisco (Dr Duh). Dr Düren is now with the Medical Faculty, University of Istanbul, Turkey.

Arch Surg. 1996;131(8):861-869. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1996.01430200071013

Objective:  To analyze the causes and outcomes of reoperation for persistent or recurrent primary hyperparathyroidism.

Data Sources:  Medical records of 102 patients with persistent or recurrent primary hyperparathyroidism who underwent reoperation by 1 surgeon between 1985 and 1995.

Study Selection:  Only patients with persistent or recurrent primary hyperparathyroidism were selected; patients with secondary hyperparathyroidism, parathyroid cancer, familial hyperparathyroidism, and previous thyroid operations were omitted.

Data Extraction:  Performed by a single unblinded researcher.

Data Synthesis:  Reasons for failed parathyroid operations included tumor in ectopic position (53%), incomplete resection of multiple abnormal glands (37%), adenoma in normal position missed during previous surgery (7%), and regrowth of previously resected tumor (3%). Of the ectopic glands, 28% were paraesophageal, 26% in the mediastinum (nonthymic), 24% intrathymic, 11% intrathyroidal, 9% in the carotid sheath, and 2% in a high cervical position. Eighty-three percent of ectopic glands were accessible via cervical incision. The success rate of reoperations was 95%. One patient (1%) became permanently hypocalcemic after reoperation; 1 patient (1%) suffered permanent unilateral vocal cord paralysis. The sensitivities of preoperative localization studies were as follows: technetium Tc 99m sestamibi scan, 77%; magnetic resonance imaging, 77%; selective venous catheterization for intact parathyroid hormone, 77%; thalium-technetium scan, 68%; ultrasonography, 57%; and computed tomography, 42%.

Conclusions:  Repeated parathyroidectomy can be avoided in more than 95% of patients if an experienced surgeon performs bilateral cervical exploration during the initial parathyroid operation. For patients with persistent or recurrent primary hyperparathyroidism, preoperative localization studies and a focused surgical approach can result in a 95% success rate with minimum complications.Arch Surg. 1996;131:861-869