What is hyperparathyroidism?

Hyperparathyroidism is a disease in which the parathyroid glands have become overactive and secrete too much parathyroid hormone (PTH).

The commonest symptoms can be

  • non-specific  fatigue, forgetfulness and “fuzziness in the head”
  • cognitive impairment
  • nausea and constipation
  • kidney stones
  • osteoporosis

The diagnosis is commonly made incidentally when a doctor detects high calcium levels in the blood.

Who needs a parathyroidectomy?

The commonest form is primary hyperparathyroidism in which usually one of the four parathyroid glands has become enlarged and overactive.

Dr Chong will organise a neck ultrasound and a Sestamibi study to locate the overactive gland and can perform a Minimally Invasive Parathyroidectomy (MIP) to remove that gland using a 2cm incision directly over the suspect gland.  Sometimes a more traditional bilateral neck exploration is required if imaging studies fail to locate  the abnormal gland.

Some patients with chronic renal failure may develop a condition called secondary hyperparathyroidism and also require a subtotal parathyroidectomy, in which almost all the parathyroid glands have to be removed.