Treatment for hyperparathyroidism usually includes either the surgical removal of abnormal parathyroid glands, or calcium and vitamin D supplementation. The treatment used will depend on whether a patient has primary or secondary hyperparathyroidism.
Primary hyperparathyroidism can be caused by hyperplasia — the enlargement of two or more of the four parathyroid glands — or by the growth of benign or malignant tumors on the parathyroid glands. Affected parathyroid glands overproduce parathyroid hormone (PTH), causing elevated calcium blood levels and reduced phosphorus blood levels. Surgery to remove the affected glands is the most common hyperparathyroidism treatment. Patients who undergo this procedure have a 95 percent cure rate.
Doctors may also use the following medications for primary hyperparathyroidism treatment:
- Bisphosphonates – These drugs help reduce the loss of calcium from bones caused by the overproduction of PTH, helping reduce the severity of osteoporosis.
- Calcimimetics – These drugs mimic calcium and will help trick the parathyroid glands into producing less PTH. The parathyroid glands produce less PTH when blood calcium levels are elevated.
- Hormone replacement therapy – This therapy helps bones retain calcium, reducing the effects of elevated PTH levels.
Unlike primary hyperparathyroidism, secondary hyperparathyroidism does not require surgery for treatment. Secondary hyperparathyroidism occurs when another condition reduces calcium levels in the body, causing the parathyroid glands to overproduce PTH in attempt to normalize blood calcium levels. Secondary hyperparathyroidism treatment involves fixing the underlying condition and taking vitamin D and calcium supplements to help boost calcium levels and reduce PTH production.
For hyperparathyroidism treatment, the surgeons at the TGH Thyroid Cancer & Parathyroid Institute can perform minimally invasive radioguided parathyroid (MIRP) surgery. MIRP surgery boasts the highest cure rate among procedures for parathyroid disease, and TGH is the only hospital in the nation to offer this procedure. Our surgeons perform more than 2,500 minimally invasive procedures annually.