Parathyroidectomy for tertiary hyperparathyroidism: A systematic review

Jessica A. Tang, Jacob Friedman, Michelle S. Hwang, Anna M. Salapatas, Lauren B. Bonzelaar, Michael Friedman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Objective Analyze the efficacy and indications for parathyroidectomy as an intervention for tertiary hyperparathyroidism. Data sources PubMed, MEDLINE, and Cochrane Library databases. Review methods A systematic literature search was performed using the. Original research articles in English were retrieved using the search terms (“tertiary hyperparathyroidism” OR “3HPT”) AND “parathyroidectomy”. Articles were analyzed in regards to their surgical indications, operative endpoints, comparison between different surgical interventions, characterization of disease recurrence rates, and evaluation of alternative medical management. Results Thirty studies met the criteria for inclusion. Among the studies that report indications for parathyroidectomy, persistent hypercalcemia as well as clinical manifestations of hypercalcemia despite medical therapy predicted which patients would eventually need surgical intervention. The majority of studies comparing the extent of parathyroidectomy recommended a more focused approach to parathyroidectomy when warranted. All studies found that parathyroidectomy was an effective treatment for 3HPT. Three studies discussed alternative conservative approaches. Conclusion Interestingly, hyperparathyroidism alone is not an indication for surgery without other findings; rather, symptomatic hypercalcemia appears to be the main indication. Most studies recommend limited or subtotal parathyroidectomy for 3HPT. The operative endpoint of surgery is not necessarily a return of PTH to normal, but a > 50% drop in PTH level even if PTH remains above normal. Additionally, “success” or “cure” is defined as normal calcium levels regardless of whether or not PTH is elevated. It appears the goal of surgery for 3HPT is not a normal PTH value, but a normal calcium level at least six months postoperatively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)630-635
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Medicine and Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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