Ectopic mediastinal parathyroid adenomas or hyperplasia account for up to 25% of primary hyperparathyroidism (HPT). Two percent of them are not accessible by standard cervical surgical approaches. Surgical resection has traditionally been performed via median sternotomy or thoracotomy and more recently, via video assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS). We present our experience with the novel use of Video-Assisted Mediastinoscopy (VAM) for resection of ectopic mediastinal parathyroid glands.
4 patients underwent VAM for removal of an ectopic intramediastinal parathyroid gland. All of them had at least one previous unsuccessful neck exploration.
In all cases histology confirmed complete resection of ectopic parathyroid glands (3 parathyroid adenomas and one parathyroid hyperplasia). Two of the patients required a partial sternal split to facilitate exploration.
The cervical approach for resection of ectopic parathyroid adenomas is frequently unsuccessful. Previously, the standard surgical approach in such cases was sternotomy and exploration of the mediastinum. Recently, a number of less invasive modalities have been introduced.
We found that VAM has several advantages. It has a short theatre time does not require a complex anaesthetic and is performed with the patient in classic supine position utilising often a previous cervical scar with good cosmetic results. It offers a short hospital stay; it is cost effective with minimal use of fancy and pricy consumables with a comfortable incision and no violation of the pleural space.
Additionally the use of digital Video imaging has increased the sensitivity of the mediastinoscopy and has added safety and confidence in performing a detailed mediastinal exploration with an additional great training value as well.