Parathyroid autotransplantation

Archives of Surgery
M HerreraL A Fitzpatrick


Although rare following initial cervical exploration, reoperative parathyroid surgery may cause permanent hypoparathyroidism in 15% to 30% of patients. Immediate fresh or delayed cryopreserved parathyroid autotransplantation is the principal surgical option to resolve this complication. Between 1980 and 1990, 18 and 12 patients underwent immediate and cryopreserved autotransplantation, respectively. With a mean follow-up of nearly 5 years, 61% of the immediate and 42% of the cryopreserved tissue showed evidence of function. However, only 10 (55%) and two (17%) of the respective patients had completely discontinued treatment with calcium supplementation. Graft-dependent hypercalcemia can occur with either technique. We conclude that until cryopreserved tissue can be transplanted with more reliable success and if the excised abnormal parathyroid likely represents the only remaining gland, we would advise immediate autotransplantation. In the reoperative setting, unless a residual normal parathyroid gland is confirmed, a portion of the excised parathyroid tissue should be cryopreserved for possible autotransplantation in case hypoparathyroidism develops subsequently.


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