Patterns of disease in patients at a tertiary referral centre requiring reoperative parathyroidectomy

C. J. McIntyre, J. L Y Allen, V. A. Constantinides, J. E. Jackson, N. S. Tolley, F. F. Palazzo

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Introduction Reoperative parathyroidectomy is required when there is persistent or recurrent hyperparathyroidism following the initial surgery (at least 5% of parathyroidectomies nationally). By convention, 'persistent disease' is defined as the situation where the patient has not been cured by the first operation. The term 'recurrent hyperparathyroidism' is used when the patient was confirmed to be biochemically cured for six months from the first operation but has hyperparathyroidism after this date. Reoperative surgery is associated with higher rates of postoperative complications as well as a greater rate of failure to cure. The aim of our study was to review our departmental experience of reoperative parathyroidectomy, with a view to identify patterns of disease persistence and recurrence. Methods Using a departmental database, patients were identified who had undergone reoperative parathyroidectomy between 2006 and 2014. All the pre, intra and postoperative information was documented including the operative note so as to record the location of the abnormal parathyroid gland found at reoperation. Results Almost two-thirds (63%) of patients had negative, equivocal or discordant conventional imaging so secondary investigative tools were required frequently. The majority of abnormal glands were found in eutopic locations. The most common locations for ectopic glands were intrathyroidal, mediastinal and intrathymic. A third (33%) of the patients had multigland disease and over a quarter (28%) had coexisting thyroid disease. Conclusions Persistent hyperparathyroidism represents a challenging patient subgroup for which access to all radiological modalities and intraoperative parathyroid hormone monitoring are required. Patient selection for reintervention is a key determinant in the reoperation cure rate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)598-602
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Parathyroid adenoma
  • Parathyroid disorders
  • Parathyroid glands
  • Parathyroidectomy
  • Primary hyperparathyroidism

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    McIntyre, C. J., Allen, J. L. Y., Constantinides, V. A., Jackson, J. E., Tolley, N. S., & Palazzo, F. F. (2015). Patterns of disease in patients at a tertiary referral centre requiring reoperative parathyroidectomy. Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, 97(8), 598-602.