James K. Bredenkamp, MD, FACS
Dr. Bredenkamp recieved his medical degree from the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine. He then went on to serve a six year residency at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine in the department of Surgery.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- What are the parathyroid glands?
- What is a parathyroidectomy?
- What is hyperparathyroidism?
- What causes hyperparathyroidism?
- When is a parathyroidectomy necessary and how is it performed?
- What are the risks of parathyroidectomy?
- What are the possible complications of parathyroidectomy?
- What else do you need to know before parathyroidectomy?
- What about care after parathyroidectomy?
- When should I contact the doctor?
Parathyroidectomy usually takes up to three hours. In most situations, the surgery is performed at a hospital or at an outpatient surgery center. An anesthesiologist provides anesthesia and monitors patients throughout the surgery. The anesthesiologist calls the night before surgery to review each patient's medical history or talks to the patient on the morning of the surgery. If preoperative laboratory studies are ordered, they are done several days before the surgery to allow enough time for the results to be obtained and sent to the surgeon and anesthesiologist.
Most patients are told not take aspirin or any product containing aspirin for 10 days prior to surgery in order to prevent aspirin from increasing bleeding at the time of surgery. Nonsteroidal antiinflammatory medications, or NSAIDs, (such as Advil, Motrin, Ibuprofen, Naprosyn, Aleve, etc.) also are stopped several days prior to the surgery for the same reason. It is important to note that many over-the-counter products contain aspirin or ibuprofen, so it is important that patients carefully check all medications that they are taking. If there is any question about a medication, patients should call their doctor's office or consult with their pharmacist. Tylenol is an acceptable pain reliever if a pain reliever is needed prior to surgery. Doctors often give patients their prescriptions for postoperative medications at the preoperative visit so that they may have them filled prior to the surgery. Surgeons may advise purchasing calcium-containing antacids such as Tums-Extra Strength tablets in case the blood calcium drops after surgery and calcium supplements are needed. The amount and duration of supplementation is determined by the surgeon.
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Patients do not eat or drink anything for approximately six hours prior to the time of surgery. This includes even water, candy, or chewing gum. Anything in the stomach increases the chances of an anesthetic complication.
Smokers should make every effort to stop smoking (or at least reduce the number of daily cigarettes). This may improve the healing process and reduce postoperative coughing and bleeding.
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