An incision is made in the neck, usually just under the Adam's apple. The 4 parathyroid glands are located and the abnormal parathyroid glands are removed. The incision is then closed.
In a partial parathyroidectomy, 1 to 3 of the glands are removed, leaving one to help prevent the body from producing too little parathyroid hormone (PTH). This condition is called hypoparathyroidism.
In a total parathyroidectomy, all 4 glands are removed. In some cases, the surgeon will implant parathyroid tissue in the forearm muscle of the patient to provide residual parathyroid function.
Updated by: Robert A. Cowles, MD, Associate Professor of Surgery, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, and Stephanie Slon.
Related MedlinePlus Page
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. Copyright 1997-2014, A.D.A.M., Inc. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized in writing by ADAM Health Solutions.