Short and long-term impact of parathyroid autotransplantation on parathyroid function after total thyroidectomy

Gabrielle Hicks, Robert George, Mark Sywak


The most common complication of total thyroidectomy is parathyroid insufficiency. Acute, transient, post-operative hypoparathyroidism increases length of hospitalization, morbidity and cost associated with total thyroidectomy. While permanent hypoparathyroidism poses a significant medical burden with lifetime medication, regular follow up and considerable disease burden related to chronic renal failure and other sequelae. Parathyroid autotransplantation has been demonstrated to result in biochemically functional grafts, leading to the procedures’ common use during total thyroidectomy. The clearest indications for parathyroid auto transplantation are inadvertently removed or devascularized parathyroid glands. Some centers utilize routine autotransplantation to reduce the risk of permanent hypoparathyroidism. Novel fluorescence techniques to aid in parathyroid detection during thyroid surgery are under evaluation. This review aims to define the role and impact of parathyroid autotransplantation undertaken during total thyroidectomy.