Parathyroidectomy: Before Your Surgery
What is a parathyroidectomy?
Parathyroidectomy is surgery to remove one or more of the four parathyroid glands in the neck. These small glands help control the amount of calcium in the body. They are found on the back of the thyroid gland. When they are too active, these glands cause high levels of calcium. This is called hyperparathyroidism (say "hy-per-pair-uh-THY-royd-iz-um"). The glands also are removed if they contain cancer.
The doctor will take out the gland or glands through a cut in the front of your neck. This cut is called an incision. You may have a tube in your neck for 1 to 4 days. The tube drains fluid from the incision.
You may be able to go back to work or your normal routine after a few weeks. This depends on the kind of work you do and how you feel.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
How do you prepare for surgery?
Surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for surgery.
Preparing for surgery
- Be sure you have someone to take you home. Anesthesia and pain medicine will make it unsafe for you to drive or get home on your own.
- Understand exactly what surgery is planned, along with the risks, benefits, and other options.
- If you take aspirin or some other blood thinner, ask your doctor if you should stop taking it before your surgery. Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do. These medicines increase the risk of bleeding.
- Tell your doctor ALL the medicines and natural health products you take. Some may increase the risk of problems during your surgery. Your doctor will tell you if you should stop taking any of them before the surgery and how soon to do it.
- Make sure your doctor and the hospital have a copy of your advance care plan. If you don't have one, you may want to prepare one. It lets others know your health care wishes. It's a good thing to have before any type of surgery or procedure.
What happens on the day of surgery?
Follow the instructions exactly about when to stop eating and drinking. If you don't, your surgery may be cancelled. If your doctor told you to take your medicines on the day of surgery, take them with only a sip of water.
Take a bath or shower before you come in for your surgery. Do not apply lotions, perfumes, deodorants, or nail polish.
Do not shave the surgical site yourself.
Take off all jewellery and piercings. And take out contact lenses, if you wear them.
At the hospital or surgery centre
Bring a picture ID.
You will be kept comfortable and safe by your anesthesia provider. You will be asleep during the surgery.
The surgery may take several hours, depending on how complex it is.
When should you call your doctor?
- You have questions or concerns.
- You don't understand how to prepare for your surgery.
- You become ill before the surgery (such as fever, flu, or a cold).
- You need to reschedule or have changed your mind about having the surgery.
Current as of: April 13, 2022