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Parathyroidectomy is the surgical removal of one or more parathyroid glands. It is used in primary tumors or hyperplasia of the glands, especially when they produce excessive parathyroid hormone. As drugs such as Fosamax do not treat the underlying cause of parathyroid-related osteoporosis, surgery is the only cure. Bone loss is reversible.

The location of the glands is generally behind the thyroid, but there is a lot of variation. Usually, the location of an enlarged gland has been confirmed via a sestamibi scan or on ultrasound.

During the operation, the patient is usually put under a general anesthetic (unconscious and pain free) or a local anesthetic (pain free). The surgeon makes an incision around an inch long under the Adam's apple.

The patient usually recovers very quickly after the operation. The PTH level is back to normal within 10-15 minutes, and is confirmed by routine blood tests following the operation.


  • Nanka O, Sedý J, Vítková I, Libánský P, Adámek S (2006). "Surgical anatomy of parathyroid glands with emphasis on parathyroidectomy". Prague Med Rep. 107 (2): 261–72. PMID 17066745.

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