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Parathyroid Reimplantation in Forearm Subcutaneous Tissue During Thyroidectomy: A Simple and Effective Way to Avoid Hypoparathyroidism



Parathyroid autotransplantation plays an important role in preventing hypoparathyroidism following thyroidectomy. The preferred reimplantation site is still the sternocleidomastoid muscle, but this approach does not permit to check graft vitality postoperatively. The authors report the first prospective evaluation of normal parathyroid gland reimplantation in forearm subcutaneous tissue (using the same technique proposed during parathyroidectomy for hyperplasia) in case of devascularized or inadvertently removed glands during thyroid surgery.

Materials and methods

From January 2013 to August 2014, we performed 348 consecutive thyroidectomies for various disease, both benign and malignant. In 25 cases, due to inadvertent parathyroid removal or evidence of insufficient blood supply, we removed and fragmented the gland into 0.5–1 mm slices (one for frozen section) and reimplanted it into two subcutaneous pockets on the non-dominant forearm. After surgery we checked grafted gland function by evaluation of serum parathormone gradient between reimplanted versus non-reimplanted arm (considering significant a ratio of 1.5 or more), at 1 week, 1 and 3 months after surgery.


We observed recovery of reimplanted graft function in 48, 88 and 96 % of patients respectively at 1 week, 1 and 3 months after surgery. All patients showed normal parathormone levels in peripheral blood (non-reimplanted arm). In one case we observed post-operative wound hematoma on graft-site. This patient showed no graft functionality in post-operative period (even at 3 months follow-up).


Parathyroid gland reimplantation in forearm subcutaneous tissue during thyroid surgery is a safe, easy and effective procedure; furthermore, it allows a good control of graft functionality and would allow an easy grafted gland removal if needed.

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Correspondence to Giuseppe Cavallaro.

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Cavallaro, G., Iorio, O., Centanni, M. et al. Parathyroid Reimplantation in Forearm Subcutaneous Tissue During Thyroidectomy: A Simple and Effective Way to Avoid Hypoparathyroidism. World J Surg 39, 1936–1942 (2015).

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  • Parathyroid Gland
  • Hypoparathyroidism
  • Sternocleidomastoid Muscle
  • Parathyroid Tissue
  • Parathyroid Hyperplasia