Use of minimally invasive parathyroidectomy techniques, either unilateral or endoscopic, will result in the same or improved safety and efficacy outcomes as those of the bilateral open neck exploration technique in patients with primary hyperparathyroidism.
Studies on minimally invasive parathyroid surgery were identified using MEDLINE (January 1984 to August 1998), EMBASE (January 1974 to August 1998), and Current Contents (week 1 of 1993 to week 34 of 1998). The search terms were as follows: ((endoscop* or (minimal* and invasive) or unilateral) and parathyroid). The Cochrane Library was searched from issue 1 of 1966 to issue 3 of 1998, using the search terms "parathyroidectomy or parathyroid resection."
Human studies of patients with primary hyperparathyroidism using unilateral or endoscopic exploration were included. Animal studies describing minimally invasive technique development were also included. A surgeon (R.F.P.) and researcher (W.J.B.) independently assessed the retrieved articles for their inclusion in the review.
Studies directly comparing the unilateral method with bilateral open neck exploration were used to analyze outcomes.
Analysis of data using odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals indicated a tendency to favor the unilateral technique. However, these individual studies generally had large confidence intervals; therefore, preference to the unilateral procedure cannot be espoused with certainty. There is also a selection bias due to the strict enrollment criteria for unilateral surgery.
The proposed role of minimally invasive parathyroid surgery is for patients with primary hyperparathyroidism who have unilateral parathyroid pathological features. To assess the safety and efficacy of minimally invasive techniques, it is suggested that their introduction be monitored as part of a trial in Australia, from which data should be accrued to a register.