Question

For personal reasons, I cannot have parathyroid surgery until next year. How often should I get my labs checked during that time to make sure that the disease isn't getting worse?


Answer
Deva Boone
Answer authored by Deva Boone
Deva Boone, MD is the founder of the Southwest Parathyroid Center. As one of the most experienced parathyroid surgeons in the U.S., she has treated thousands of patients with parathyroid conditions.

Regarding how often labs should be checked, if someone is not having surgery right away: they don’t need to be checked that often. Often, the labs stay very similar for many years. The severity of the disease is not related to how high the calcium is (for patients with high calcium). The severity of the disease is related to how long it is present. So there is no number cutoff where you can say, “ok, now the disease is severe.” The disease becomes severe with time, even if the calcium stays just above normal. Also, calcium levels and PTH levels will fluctuate with time. So the calcium may be 10.5 this month, and 10.9 next month. It doesn’t mean that the disease has gotten worse; it just means that the calcium is fluctuating - it could be 10.1 the month after that. That’s just how the numbers are with primary hyperparathyroidism. There is no need to check frequently, if you know the disease is present and the calcium level has been in the mild to moderately elevated range. Every 6 months should be more than enough.

Operation