The effect of parathyroid autotransplantation on hypoparathyroidism is not fully understood. The purpose of the study was to determine the effect of autotransplantation of a parathyroid gland on the incidence of hypoparathyroidism and recovery of parathyroid function at 6 months after total thyroidectomy with central neck dissection for papillary thyroid carcinoma.
All patients with autotransplantation of a parathyroid gland (no inadvertent parathyroidectomy) (group A), in situ preservation of all parathyroid glands (no autotransplantation and inadvertent parathyroidectomy) (group B) or inadvertent removal of a parathyroid gland (no autotransplantation) (group C) who underwent first-time total thyroidectomy with central neck dissection for papillary thyroid carcinoma between January 2013 and June 2016 were included retrospectively.
Of the 702 patients, 383, 297 and 22 were respectively included in the groups A, B and C. The overall rates of transient and permanent hypoparathyroidism were 37.6% and 1.0%. The incidence of transient hypoparathyroidism was 43.9, 29.0 and 45.5% (A vs B, P = 0.000; A vs C, P = 1.000), and the incidence of permanent hypoparathyroidism was 1.0, 0.7 and 4.5% (P > 0.05). The recovery rates of serum parathyroid hormone levels were 71.4, 72.2 and 66.0% at 6-month follow-up (P > 0.05).
Autotransplantation of a parathyroid gland does not affect the incidence of permanent hypoparathyroidism, but increases the risk of transient hypoparathyroidism when the rest of parathyroid glands are preserved in situ. At least 2 parathyroid glands should be preserved during total thyroidectomy with central neck dissection to prevent permanent hypoparathyroidism.