Parathyroidectomy in the elderly population: Does age really matter?


  • Abstract presented at the Triological Society Southern and Middle Sections Meeting, Bonita Springs, Florida, U.S.A., January 8–11, 2009.



Compare parathyroidectomy patients based on age, including demographics, outcomes, and complications.

Study Design:

Retrospective review.


Prospective parathyroidectomy database covering 1998 to 2007 was reviewed retrospectively.


A total of 687 patients underwent parathyroidectomy, including 247 (36%) >65 years old. Discharge was more often on day of surgery in younger patients (42.5% vs. 29.2%, P = .007) and >23 hours for older patients (24.7% vs. 12.3%, P < .0001). Older patients stayed longer in the recovery room (134 vs. 107 minutes, P = .005). Despite postoperative normocalcemia, older patients tended to have persistently elevated parathyroid hormone (PTH) (10.5% vs. 6.4%, P = .07), whereas younger patients had normal PTH (81.6% vs. 70%, P = .0007). PTH levels were low-abnormal (56–110) in younger patients (47% vs. 29%, P = .046), but high-abnormal (>220) in older patients (16.6% vs. 9.55%, P = .009). Overall complication rates were low (6%–8%), with >93% in either group having no major complications. There was no difference in timing or types of complications, except elderly patients were more likely to have cardiac complications (2.83% vs. 0.45%, P = .022).


Nearly 700 parathyroidectomies were performed at our institution over 10 years. Elderly patients comprised one third of this population. They were likely to have longer hospital and recovery room stays, and postoperative normocalcemia with elevated PTH, which may actually be a normal finding for these patients, but it warrants further study. The rate, timing, and types of complications were similar between age groups, although elderly patients had more cardiac complications. When properly indicated, parathyroidectomy remains a safe and effective option for management of hyperparathyroidism in elderly patients. Laryngoscope, 2010