Minimally Invasive Surgery: A Tiny Cut for a Quick Cure
Until the early 1990s, parathyroid surgery required a long incision across the neck: a “Frankenstein” cut, as some patients came to know it. The procedure would take several hours and required a hospital stay.
Today, we have a much less invasive approach: minimally invasive radioguided parathyroidectomy, or MIRP. With MIRP, we operate through a much smaller incision, about one inch long. The operation takes about 30-60 minutes, and you can go home the same day.
Despite the small incision, we test all four of your parathyroid glands during the operation. In most cases, the sestamibi scan and ultrasound will already have identified the most overactive gland, but we check the remaining glands too. If additional glands are overactive, we remove them during the same operation. This is why the success rate for the operation is so very high.
Guilty Until Proven Innocent
Most often, hyperparathyroidism is caused by a single overactive parathyroid gland. Preoperative ultrasound and sestamibi scans usually give us a pretty good idea of which parathyroid gland is the most overactive. If we simply remove that gland and do nothing else, the success rate for curing hyperparathyroidism is about 90%.
We don’t think that’s good enough, so, during surgery, Dr. Kennedy investigates your other three parathyroid glands. Specifically, he takes a tiny biopsy of each gland and tests it immediately for the presence of that radioisotope we gave you for your sestamibi scan. That’s why we give you the sestamibi scan right before surgery. The radioisotope is very short-lived and will soon be gone from your body.
If any additional glands show a high count of the radioisotope, we know they’re guilty too. Dr. Kennedy can then remove them during the same surgery. With this additional testing, our success rate is about 97%. And yes, we’re always looking for ways to get to 100%.
If you are interested in becoming a patient, please contact us.