Parathyroid glands (320x240)
credit: © 2016-2019 Healthwise, IncorporatedParathyroid glands

The parathyroid glands are four tiny glands located on the back of the thyroid gland, which is in the neck. They make parathyroid hormone (PTH). PTH helps control the amount of calcium in the body.

Parathyroidectomy is the removal of one or more of the four parathyroid glands in the neck. 

What happens before surgery?

Surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for surgery.

Preparing for surgery

Understand exactly what surgery is planned, along with the risks, benefits, and other options.

Tell your doctors ALL the medicines, vitamins, supplements, and herbal remedies you take. Some of these can increase the risk of bleeding or interact with anesthesia.

If you take blood thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix), or aspirin, be sure to talk to your doctor. He or she will tell you if you should stop taking these medicines before your surgery. Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.

Your doctor will tell you which medicines to take or stop before your surgery. You may need to stop taking certain medicines a week or more before surgery. So talk to your doctor as soon as you can.

If you have an advance directive, let your doctor know. It may include a living will and a durable power of attorney for health care. Bring a copy to the hospital. If you don’t have one, you may want to prepare one. It lets your doctor and loved ones know your health care wishes. Doctors advise that everyone prepare these papers before any type of surgery or procedure.

Parathyroidectomy: What to expect at home — your recovery

Following surgery, you may leave the hospital with stitches in the cut the doctor made (incision). Your doctor will tell you if you need to come back to have these removed. You may still have a tube called a drain in your neck. Your doctor will take this out a few days after your surgery.

You may have some trouble chewing and swallowing after you go home. Your voice probably will be hoarse, and you may have trouble talking. For most people, these problems get better within a few weeks, but it can take longer. In some cases, this surgery causes permanent problems with chewing, speaking, or swallowing.

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