Parathyroid Surgery Experts No Longer Performing One-Side Parathyroid Operation for Hyperparathyroidism

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Friday, March 30, 2012

World's leading parathyroid surgeons have abandoned the one-side parathyroid operation they developed for hyperparathyroidism, an operation that has now become the standard.

Dr James Norman, MD and his partners at the Norman Parathyroid Center have published a landmark study in this week's Journal of the American College of Surgeons describing how the operation they developed and advocated for more than 19 years has significantly poorer long-term outcomes. The unilateral or "one-side" parathyroid surgical procedure to remove parathyroid tumors from patients suffering from hyperparathyroidism is a dramatic change from the large neck operation that it replaced. Dr Norman and his partners have published many articles touting the benefits of the smaller, one-side operation, a procedure that has become the standard operation world-wide. Long-term followup, however, shows that many patients having a one-side operation will need another operation some years later to remove a second tumor.

"We changed parathyroid surgery forever in the mid 1990's by developing and advocating the use of technology to allow one-side neck operations to remove parathyroid tumors," said Norman. "We have performed over 17,500 parathyroid operations and unfortunately, quite a few patients who we believed were cured after a one-side operation began showing up with another parathyroid tumor between 3 and 15 years later. They obviously had a second smaller tumor that we did not see. In contrast, those patients in whom we examined all four parathyroid glands had a second tumor removed 20% of the time and their long-term cure rates remain near 100%."

"We began noticing big differences in cure rates about 6 years ago and thus began our avoidance of one-side parathyroid surgery," stated Dr Douglas Politz, a co-author. "Fortunately for the patients, the new mini-parathyroid operation to look at all 4 glands (both sides) is actually smaller and faster than the one-side operation we developed 18 years ago using techniques we are teaching with videos online."

"This is a very significant change in surgical practice," stated Dr Lee Metchick, an endocrinologist in Central Florida. "If one parathyroid tumor is removed and a smaller, second tumor remains, the patient doesn't achieve the full benefits of the operation."

The study was presented at the 2011 meeting of the American College of Surgeons and is published in this month's issue of their primary Journal: Norman J, Lopez J, Politz D. Abandoning Unilateral Parathyroidectomy: Why We Reversed Our Position After 15,000 Parathyroid Operations. Journal Am erican Coll ege of Surg eons . 2012 Mar;214(3):260-9

About Norman Parathyroid Center. Located in Tampa, Florida, The Norman Parathyroid Center is the world's leading facility for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the parathyroid glands and hyperparathyroidism. is recognized as the leading authority on hyperparathyroidism, an illness caused by parathyroid tumors located in the neck which affect one in 1000 people causing high blood calcium, osteoporosis, chronic fatigue, depression, and kidney stones, among other conditions.

Media Contact:
Callie Williford,

Source: Norman Parathyroid Center

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