Parathyroidectomy in the elderly is beneficial and safe with similar improvements in postoperative bone mineral density

Patrick T. Hangge, Abdullah Norain, Richard J. Butterfield, Nabil Wasif, Patricia A. Cronin, Chee Chee H. Stucky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: This study evaluated bone health outcomes of parathyroidectomy in elderly primary hyperparathyroidism (pHPT) patients. Methods: A retrospective review was performed of parathyroidectomy patients with pHPT at a single institution from 2010 to 2019. Bone mineral density (BMD) improvements at postoperative dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scans were analyzed between groups aged ≥75 and < 75 years using 1:1 matching on preoperative BMD. Results: Patients ≥75 had BMD improvements through the second postoperative DEXA scans. While mean T-scores slightly improved in the ≥75 group during the study period, T-score improvement was more significant in the <75 group at first and third postoperative DEXA scans with +0.7 < 75 and +0.1 improvements ≥75 by the third DEXA (p = 0.026). Postoperative fragility fracture rates were similar in the ≥75 group, but significantly improved in patients <75 (10.4% preoperatively to 1.4% postoperatively, p = 0.020). Both cohorts had low complication rates with recurrent laryngeal nerve injury and permanent hypocalcemia of <1% (p = 0.316). Conclusions: Postoperative BMD improvement was similar between the two cohorts with no difference in complication rates suggesting parathyroidectomy is safe and effective in the elderly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)147-152
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican journal of surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2022


  • Bone mineral density
  • Complications
  • DEXA
  • Elderly
  • Parathyroidectomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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