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What to Expect from Parathyroidectomy

Prior to Surgery

  • You may be asked to stop taking aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), clopidogrel (Plavix), warfarin (Coumadin) and other blood thinners.
  • Ask your doctor which drugs you should take on the day of the surgery.
  • Discuss any possible bleeding disorders or other medical conditions that you may have.
  • Let your doctor know if you have a cold, flu fever, herpes breakout or other illness prior to surgery. This may require that your reschedule your procedure.
  • Do not smoke. This will help you recover quicker.

On the Day of the Surgery

  • You will usually be asked not to drink or eat anything after midnight the night before the surgery.
  • Take the drugs your doctor told you to take with a small sip of water.
  • Arrive at the hospital at the given time.

After Surgery

You will most likely be able to go home the same day.

  • Since you had a local anesthesia, your pain will be minimal and probably relieved by taking an over-the-counter medication, such as Tylenol.
  • You can shower, but do not take a bath or soak the incision for the first seven days following surgery.
  • Remove the tape after four days and apply an antibiotic cream or ointment to help with healing.

Recovery: what to expect in the next few weeks

Most patients are fully recovered within the first week, but will need to limit water-based sports and activities until the wound has healed.

Parathyroidectomy Q&A

What does the procedure involve?

Under light anesthesia – sometimes a local numbing medication and a relaxant - the surgeon makes a very tiny incision at the site of the diseased parathyroid gland. The gland is removed, and the site is closed using absorbable stitches. It is covered with a steri-strip (surgical tape that protects the site).The procedure is quick, taking about 20 to 30 minutes.

How many incisions are made?

One tiny incision that is about 2/3 of an inch is made at the site of the diseased gland.

How long do I stay in the hospital?

You will most likely go home within a few hours of the surgery.

What is the recovery time?

Most patients are fully recovered within a week. You will need to keep the surgery site dry, so no water-based sports will be allowed for about a month.