Parathyroidectomy in the management of tertiary hyperparathyroidism

Ferreira GF, et al. Parathyroidectomy after kidney transplantation: short-and long-term impact on renal function. Clinics (Sao Paulo). 2011;66(3):431-5. Free full-text.

Materials and methods: This was a retrospective case-controlled study. Nineteen patients with persistent hyperparathyroidism underwent parathyroidectomy due to hypercalcemia. The control group included 19 patients undergoing various general and urological operations.

Results: In the parathyroidectomy group, a significant increase in serum creatinine from 1.58 to 2.29 mg/dl (P < 0.05) was noted within the first 5 days after parathyroidectomy. In the control group, a statistically insignificant increase in serum creatinine from 1.49 to 1.65 mg/dl occurred over the same time period. The long-term mean serum creatinine level was not statistically different from baseline either in the parathyroidectomy group (final follow-up creatinine = 1.91 mg/dL) or in the non-parathyroidectomy group (final follow-up creatinine = 1.72 mg/dL).

Conclusion: Although renal function deteriorates in the acute period following parathyroidectomy, long-term stabilization occurs, with renal function similar to both preoperative function and to a control group of kidney-transplanted patients who underwent other general surgical operations by the final follow up.


Finnerty BM, et al. Parathyroidectomy versus Cinacalcet in the Management of Tertiary Hyperparathyroidism: Surgery Improves Renal Transplant Allograft Survival. Surgery. 2019 Jan;165(1):129-134. Full-text for Emory users.

Results: A total of 133 patients were included (33 who received parathyroidectomy and 100 who received cinacalcet); median renal allograft survival was 5.9 years (interquartile range 4.0-9.0). There were no differences in age, sex, body mass index, comorbidities, duration of pretransplant dialysis, cadaveric donor utilization, or rates of delayed allograft function between cohorts. In the parathyroidectomy cohort, normalization of parathyroid hormone occurred more frequently (67% vs 15%, P < .001) and renal allograft failure rates were less (9% vs 33%, P = .007), with similar median posttransplant follow-up (7.0 years [interquartile range 4.5-10.0]). On multivariable analysis, parathyroidectomy was inversely associated with allograft failure (odds ratio 0.20, 95%-confidence interval 0.06-0.71, P = .013); there were no other associated factors. A greater median parathyroid hormone (pg/mL) 1 year posttransplant (348 [interquartile range 204-493] vs 195 [interquartile range 147-297], P = .025) was associated with allograft failure in the cinacalcet cohort.

Conclusion: Parathyroidectomy for tertiary hyperparathyroidism is associated with lesser rates of renal allograft failure compared with cinacalcet management. Patients with inadequate parathyroid hormone control on cinacalcet at 1 year posttransplant should be considered for parathyroidectomy to prevent potential allograft failure.


Dulfer RR, et al.. Systematic review of surgical and medical treatment for tertiary hyperparathyroidism. Br J Surg. 2017 Jun;104(7):804-813. Free full-text.

Methods: A systematic review was performed and medical literature databases were searched for studies on the treatment of tertiary HPT that were published after the approval of cinacalcet.

Results: A total of 1669 articles were identified, of which 47 were included in the review. Following subtotal and total parathyroidectomy, initial cure rates were 98·7 and 100 per cent respectively, but in 7·6 and 4 per cent of patients tertiary HPT recurred. After treatment with cinacalcet, 80·8 per cent of the patients achieved normocalcaemia. Owing to side-effects, 6·4 per cent of patients discontinued cinacalcet treatment. The literature regarding graft function and survival is limited; however, renal graft survival after surgical treatment appears comparable to that obtained with cinacalcet therapy.

Conclusion: Side-effects and complications of both treatment modalities were mild and occurred in a minority of patients. Surgical treatment for tertiary HPT has higher cure rates than medical therapy.


Pitt SC, Sippel RS, Chen H. Secondary and tertiary hyperparathyroidism, state of the art surgical management. Surg Clin North Am. 2009 Oct;89(5):1227-39. Free full-text.

Conclusion: “Surgical management of secondary and tertiary HPT is safe and effective at correcting bone mineralization and metabolic disturbances. Improved neuropsychiatric symptoms, survival, and quality of life with reduced cardiovascular events also are benefits of parathyroidectomy. The most commonly accepted approaches in these patients are subtotal parathyroidectomy or total parathyroidectomy with autotransplantation of parathyroid tissue into the non-dominant forearm. Techniques such as intraoperative PTH monitoring and radioguided surgery have advanced these surgeries by eliminating the need for frozen section and decreasing operative times. While surgery remains the only cure for patients with tertiary HPT, the treatment of secondary is predominantly medical employing newer calcimimetics, phosphate binders, and vitamin D analogues. Future advances in the surgical management of these patients will likely require the creation of consensus guidelines and multi-institutional collaborative studies.”


More PubMed results on surgical management of tertiary HPT.

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