The parathyroid glands are right behind your thyroid gland in your neck. These glands help your body use calcium. A parathyroidectomy is a surgical procedure to remove the parathyroid gland or parathyroid tumors. The procedure is done under general anesthesia. Your doctor may recommend a parathyroidectomy if one or more of your parathyroid glands is producing too much parathyroid hormone (PTH). This condition is called hyperparathyroidism. It is often caused by a small benign (non-cancerous) tumor called an adenoma. Evaluations before surgery will include: medical history, physical exam, blood tests to look at parathyroid hormone levels, CT scan, and ultrasound.


As with any surgical procedure, there are certain risks involved with a parathyroidectomy.  The risks and complications include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Injury to the thyroid gland or the need to remove part of the thyroid gland.
  • Hypoparathyroidism. This can lead to low calcium levels that are dangerous to your health.
  • Injury to the nerves in your vocal cord. You may have a weaker voice or a hard time swallowing thin liquids.
  • Complications due to anesthesia (The anesthesiologist will discuss the risks with you prior to your procedure).

Before the Procedure

  1. Nothing to eat or drink after midnight the evening before the procedure. This includes all food, liquids, water, candy, mints or chewing gum. You may brush your teeth. You will not be able to undergo the surgery if you do not follow these instructions.
  2. Please notify us of any medications and dosage (including insulin) or allergies you may have.  You will be informed of which medications you can take on the day of surgery with a sip of water.
  3. A week before the surgery, please avoid aspirin, aspirin-containing products, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Aleve) or Vitamin E. Please notify our office if you are on any medications that affect bleeding, such as coumadin or warfarin. Please call our office if you have any concerns about any medications. (585-342-2080)
  4. Remove all make-up, jewelry, nail polish, and artificial nails before surgery.  
  5. Do not bring valuables to the hospital (cash, credit cards, watches, jewelry, etc.).

After the Procedure

After surgery, you will have a soft drain in the surgical incision, which prevents fluid and blood from building up in the wound. The drain will be removed once there is minimal drainage. After surgery, it is not uncommon to have a sensation of fullness or numbness of the side of the face, neck, and lower ear on the affected side. Upon discharge from the hospital, you will be given additional discharge instructions.

Activity: No strenuous activity (no heavy lifting, bending, or straining) for two weeks after surgery.

Diet: Advance diet from liquids to soft foods to solids as tolerated. Avoid hot liquids or food.

Wound Care: Keep your incision dry. You may shower and wash your hair if you cover the dressing. If you go home with a drain, the nurse at the hospital will discuss drain care with you prior to discharge.

Medication: You may need to take pain medication, antibiotics, and/or calcium supplements after your surgery. Steroids may be indicated if you have excessive swelling. Take all medications as prescribed.

Follow-Up: You will have a follow up appointment scheduled for two weeks after surgery. Our office will notify you of your appointment date and time. Shortly after surgery, you will need to have repeat laboratory tests of hormone and calcium blood levels.

Please call our office at 585-342-2080 for any of the following:  

  1. Trouble breathing or swallowing
  2. Coughing up blood or persistent bleeding
  3. Fever above 101°F
  4. Pain that is not relieved by medicine.
  5. Redness, swelling, or drainage at your incision site
  6. Increased swelling of your neck or back of throat
  7. Any  other questions or concerns.