Permanent post-surgical hypoparathyroidism (POSH) is a major complication of anterior neck surgery in general and of thyroid surgery in particular. Depending of diagnostic criteria, up to 10% of patients undergoing bilateral thyroid surgery develop POSH. This leads to a multitude of symptoms that decrease the quality of life and burden the healthcare provision through complex needs for medication and treatment of specific complications, such as seizures and laryngospasm.
Narrative review of current medical treatments for POSH and of the experience accumulated with parathyroid allotransplantation.
In most patients, POSH is controlled with regular use of calcium supplements and active vitamin D analogues but a significant proportion of patients continue to experience severe symptoms requiring repeated emergency admissions. Replacement therapy with synthetic PTH compounds (PTH1-34, Natpara® and PTH1-84, teriparatide, Forsteo®) has been assessed in multicentre trials, but the use of this medication is restricted by costs and concerns related to the risk of development of osteosarcoma.
Based on recent case reports of successful allotransplantation of parathyroid tissue between siblings, there is renewed interest in this technique. Data on selection of donors, parathyroid cell preparation before allotransplantation, site and timing of transplantation, need for immunosuppression and long-term outcomes are reviewed.
A prospective trial to assess the efficacy of parathyroid allotransplantation in patients with severely symptomatic protracted post-surgical hypoparathyroidism is warranted.