The International Journal of Romanian Society of Endocrinology / Registered in 1938

in ISI Thomson Master Journal List

October - December 2017, Volume 13, Issue 4

Neagoe RM, Cvasciu IT, Muresan M, Sala DT

Incidental Parathyroidectomy During Thyroid Surgery - Risk, Prevention and Controversies; an Evidence-Based Review

Acta Endo (Buc) 2017, 13 (4): 467-475
doi: 10.4183/aeb.2017.467

Background. Postoperative hypocalcemia after thyroid surgery has a high prevalence ( 16-55% in different series). Incidental parathyroidectomy (IP) is a less discussed complication of thyroidectomy with consequences not properly defined. The aim of our study was to find incidence, risk factors and how to prevent IP. Methods. Extensive search of English literature publications via PubMed was performed and 73 papers from 1980 to 2017 were analysed using the GRADE system/classification, quality of evidence was classified as “strong” when the result is highly unlikely to change existing recommendation and “weak” when opposite. Results. Incidence of IP is 3.7-24.9%, while prevalence of permanent hypoparathyroidism is less frequent 6-12%. Direct relation between IP and hypoparathyroidism/ hypocalcemia remains controversial. Female patients, ectopic parathyroids, small thyroids, Graves’, malignancy, redo surgeries and total thyroidectomy favour IP. Routine visualization of parathyroids, new hemostatic devices, magnifying instruments and fluorescence can prevent incidental removal of parathyroids. Incidence of IP during videoassisted or robotic thyroidectomies was similar to open procedures. High volume, experienced and younger surgeons have lower complication rates (including hypoparathyroidism). Conclusions. Incidental parathyroidectomy is more frequent than we might have expected. It should be avoided and parathyroid glands should be kept in situ. Majority of studies are retrospective (low degree of evidence according to previous mentioned GRADE classification) and further meta-analysis or randomized control studies are welcome in order to define the impact of incidental removal of parathyroids on postoperative outcome.

Keywords: incidental parathyroidectomy, risk, prevention, thyroidectomy.

Correspondence: Ioan Titus Cvasciuc MD, Leeds Teaching Hospitals, Endocrine Surgery, Beckett Street, Leeds, LS101PJ, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, E-mail: