Operative failure in the era of focused parathyroidectomy: A contemporary series of 845 patients

John I. Lew, Mariela Rivera, George L. Irvin, Carmen C. Solorzano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Hypothesis: Focused parathyroidectomy guided by intraoperative parathyroid hormone monitoring (IPM) may lead to higher failure rates because of missed multiglandular disease. Design: Retrospective review of prospectively collected data. Setting: Tertiary referral center. Patients: From September 8, 1993, through January 30, 2009, a total of 845 consecutive patients with sporadic primary hyperparathyroidism underwent focused para-thyroidectomy guided by IPM at a single institution. Main Outcome Measures: Parathyroid hormone dynamics and perioperative data were analyzed for factors affecting outcome. Operative failure was defined as hypercalcemia with elevated parathyroid hormone levels within 6 months after parathyroidectomy. Detailed intraoperative data from the failed operations were also reviewed. Results: Of 723 patients followed up for at least 6 months, 702 (97.1%) had successful parathyroidectomy, and 21 (2.9%) had failed parathyroidectomy. The major cause of operative failure was the surgeon's inability to find the abnormal parathyroid gland (16 of 21 patients [76.2%]). In the remaining patients, IPM results were false-positive in 5 of 21 patients (23.8%) or 0.7% overall. Among the cohort, IPM correctly identified missed multiglandular disease in 33 of 38 patients (86.8%). Patients having operative failure were more likely to have a history of thyroidectomy or parathyroidectomy and were less likely to have correct findings on technetium Tc 99m sestamibi or ultrasonographic localizing studies compared with patients having operative success. Conclusion: Inability of the surgeon to find the abnormal parathyroid gland - not missed multiglandular disease - is the main cause of operative failure in focused parathyroidectomy guided by IPM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)628-633
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Surgery
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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