The traditional surgical approach for primary hyperparathyroidism (PHP) is routine bilateral neck exploration. At Saiseikai Utsunomiya Hospital, however, unilateral exploration, and the direct resection of one gland is performed if single gland enlargement is suspected, based on the findings of several preoperative localization procedures. Here, we reviewed 26 patients who underwent single gland operations for PHP at our institution between 1993 and 2001. The 26 patients (21 women and 5 men) ranged in age from 20 to 79 years (mean, 54.8 years). None of the patients had multiple endocrine neoplasia (MEN), familial hypercalcemia, or malignant tumors. At least three preoperative localization procedures, such as ultrasonography, computed tomography, thalium technetium scanning, 99mTc sestamibi scintigraphy, or magnetic resonance imaging, were performed in each patient. A parathyroidectomy was then performed under general anesthesia. Contralateral exploration was not routinely performed. In addition, an intraoperative biopsy of the other glands was not performed. The following data were retrospectively collected in all patients: serum calcium, and the HS-PTH at one month and 6 months after the parathyroidectomy. All patients were normocalcemic, and the serum HS-PTH concentration significantly decreased in all patients after this operation. Patients were divided into two groups (adenoma group, n = 16; hyperplasia group, n = 6) and the data was analyzed according to the histological and pathological diagnosis. In both pathological groups, all patients were normocalcemic and the serum HS-PTH concentration was significantly lower after surgery. The serum HS-PTH concentration showed no significant difference between the adenoma group and the hyperplasia group at 6 months after surgery. No complications, including recurrent laryngeal nerve palsy or permanent hypocalcemia, were observed after surgery. In conclusion, if a single gland disease is suspected based on the findings of multiple preoperative localization procedures, resection of the enlarged gland alone appears to provide good results for the treatment of either adenoma or hyperplasia resulting in PHP. In addition, this procedure also reduces the occurrence of postoperative hypocalcemia, because the normal glands are not injured by the biopsy procedures.
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