Parathyroid Surgery in the Elderly: Should Minimally Invasive Surgery Be Abandoned?
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Single adenoma is the cause of 80 % of primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT) resulting in wide acceptance of minimally invasive parathyroidectomy (MIP). The incidence of PHPT increases with age. Little information is available regarding the prevalence of multiglandular disease (MGD) in older patients.
The records of 537 patients that underwent parathyroid surgery between January 2005 and October 2012 at two endocrine surgery referral centers were retrospectively reviewed. Comparison was performed between patients younger than 65 and older than 65 years of age. Clinical variables included preoperative laboratories and imaging, extent of neck exploration, number of glands excised, and intraoperative parathyroid hormone levels during surgery.
There were 374 (70 %) patients in the younger age group (YG) and 163 (30 %) patients in the older age group (OG). The mean age was 50 ± 0.5 and 71 ± 0.4 years, respectively. There was no difference between the groups in terms of gender or laboratory results. MGD was significantly more common in the OG (24 % vs. 12 %; p = 0.001) and similarly MIP was less commonly completed in the OG (49 % vs. 68 %; p < 0.001). Cure rates were comparable between the OG and YG (93 % vs. 95 %; p = 0.27). In the OG, patients with MGD had significantly smaller glands as compared to patients with single adenomas in this group (331 ± 67 vs. 920 ± 97 mg; p = 0.006, respectively).
MGD in PHPT was found to be more prevalent in older patients. Planning a bilateral neck exploration should be considered in older patients, especially when a relatively small gland is suggested by imaging or encountered during surgery.
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