Minimally invasive parathyroid surgery

Salem I. Noureldine, Zhen Gooi, Ralph P. Tufano


Traditionally, bilateral cervical exploration for localization of all four parathyroid glands and removal of any that are grossly enlarged has been the standard surgical treatment for primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT). With the advances in preoperative localization studies and greater public demand for less invasive procedures, novel targeted, minimally invasive techniques to the parathyroid glands have been described and practiced over the past 2 decades. Minimally invasive parathyroidectomy (MIP) can be done either through the standard Kocher incision, a smaller midline incision, with video assistance (purely endoscopic and video-assisted techniques), or through an ectopically placed, extracervical, incision. In current practice, once PHPT is diagnosed, preoperative evaluation using high-resolution radiographic imaging to localize the offending parathyroid gland is essential if MIP is to be considered. The imaging study results suggest where the surgeon should begin the focused procedure and serve as a road map to allow tailoring of an efficient, imaging-guided dissection while eliminating the unnecessary dissection of multiple glands or a bilateral exploration. Intraoperative parathyroid hormone (IOPTH) levels may be measured during the procedure, or a gamma probe used during radioguided parathyroidectomy, to ascertain that the correct gland has been excised and that no other hyperfunctional tissue is present. MIP has many advantages over the traditional bilateral, four-gland exploration. MIP can be performed using local anesthesia, requires less operative time, results in fewer complications, and offers an improved cosmetic result and greater patient satisfaction. Additional advantages of MIP are earlier hospital discharge and decreased overall associated costs. This article aims to address the considerations for accomplishing MIP, including the role of preoperative imaging studies, intraoperative adjuncts, and surgical techniques.