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Minimally Invasive Radioguided Parathyroid (MIRP) Surgery

Parathyroid surgery is used as a treatment for parathyroid disease, or hyperparathyroidism. This condition occurs when one or more of the parathyroid glands located in the neck overproduce parathyroid hormone (PTH), causing an abnormal increase in blood calcium levels. Surgeons use parathyroid surgery to remove the affected parathyroid gland(s) and to alleviate the symptoms of the disease, which may include chronic fatigue, moodiness, kidney stones, and osteoporosis.

In the past, surgeons often had to surgically open nearly the entire neck of a patient to try and locate which parathyroid gland(s) needed to be removed. Thanks to advances in technology, however, minimally invasive radioguided parathyroid (MIRP) surgery is used at the TGH Thyroid Cancer & Parathyroid Institute. When compared to traditional parathyroid procedures, this operation is:

  • More effective – MIRP surgery has the highest cure rate of all parathyroid operations at nearly 100 percent.
  • Faster – The procedure usually takes about 15 to 20 minutes, and patients can be home in about one to two hours. After a traditional parathyroid surgery, a patient usually needs to remain in the hospital for several days.
  • More accurate – Intraoperative nuclear mapping and a special probe allow a surgeon to determine exactly which parathyroid glands are normal and which ones have a tumor or are enlarged before starting surgery. Without this technology, surgeons have to remove parathyroid glands based on what they see after opening the neck, sometimes leading to mistakes.
  • Safer – Since the surgeon only needs to make a 1-inch incision in the neck, the chances of damaging the other parathyroid glands are greatly reduced. After a traditional parathyroid surgery, the healthy parathyroid glands may temporarily stop functioning when disturbed during the procedure. 

At TGH’s Thyroid & Parathyroid Institute, we only perform minimally invasive parathyroid surgery, and we are proud to have the only surgeon in the U.S. who can perform MIRP surgery. More than 2,500 patients come to TGH every year to receive surgical treatment for hyperparathyroidism and parathyroid tumors. In 2019-20, U.S. News & World Report recognized TGH as one of America's Best Hospitals for Diabetes & Endocrinology.