Persistent and recurrent hyperparathyroidism

Nadine R. Caron, Cord Sturgeon, Orlo H. Clark*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


More than 95% of patients with primary hyperparathyroidism (HPT) will be cured at initial operation by an experienced surgeon. Despite this success rate, persistent and recurrent HPT remain challenging clinical entities. The most cost effective and safest treatment for persistent and recurrent HPT is avoidance by successful first operation. The contributors to treatment failure can be categorized into factors related to the initial surgical procedure, anatomic variability, and the biology of disease. An understanding of the factors that commonly contribute to treatment failure can help prevent persistent and recurrent disease and plays an integral role in planning subsequent surgical approaches. Once a biochemical diagnosis of persistent or recurrent HPT is confirmed, a thorough evaluation of previous operative, pathology, and radiology reports is essential. Localization procedures supplement this information and help direct the reoperative approach. When complementary noninvasive studies, such as ultrasound, sestamibi, and magnetic resonance imaging are negative, equivocal, or discordant, invasive tests (eg, selective venous sampling for parathyroid hormone levels) are warranted. Intraoperative ultrasound and gamma-probe localization are of questionable value, but intraoperative parathyroid hormone assays help facilitate these challenging repeat dissections. Repeat parathyroid exploration is associated with more complications and fewer cures compared to the initial explorations and should only be undertaken by an experienced surgeon in a center that can provide expert preoperative localization, adjunctive intraoperative tools, and cryopreservation of parathyroid tissue when necessary. Although controversy exists regarding indications for reoperative treatment for persistent or recurrent HPT, parathyroidectomy remains the only curative treatment option. Surgery should be considered first-line treatment in most circumstances.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)335-345
Number of pages11
JournalCurrent treatment options in oncology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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