To assess the incidence and clinical relevance of inadvertent parathyroidectomy during thyroidectomy, and the possibility of reducing its occurrence.
Consecutive patients who underwent thyroidectomy from 1999 to 2005, divided into 2 groups (group 1, those with inadvertent parathyroidectomy; and group 2, those without inadvertent parathyroidectomy). Patients who underwent surgical procedures for recurrent thyroid disease, intentional parathyroidectomy, and resection of central compartment viscera were excluded.
All pathology reports were reviewed for the presence of any parathyroid tissue in the resected specimen. Age, sex, preoperative diagnosis, thyroid hormonal status, substernal thyroid extension, number of parathyroid glands identified and spared at the time of surgery, autotransplantation of parathyroid gland, and final histologic findings were recorded.
Main Outcome Measures
Identification of parathyroid tissue in resected specimens and postoperative symptomatic hypocalcemia.
A total of 307 patients were included. Surgical procedures included bilateral or unilateral thyroidectomy (95% and 5% of procedures, respectively). Central neck lymph node dissection was performed in 5% of cases. Pathologic findings showed inadvertent parathyroidectomy in 12% of cases. Of these, 32% were recognized intraoperatively. The parathyroid tissue was found in extracapsular locations in 37% of cases, intracapsular locations in 39%, and intrathyroidal locations in 24%. There was no statistical difference between the 2 groups in terms of sex, preoperative diagnosis, substernal extension, extent of surgery, pathologic diagnosis, and occurrence of postoperative hypocalcemia, except for the presence of thyroiditis.
Careful examination of the surgical specimen intraoperatively decreases the incidence of inadvertent parathyroidectomy during thyroidectomy.