The parathyroid glands consist of four individual pieces that are small and round. They’re attached to the thyroid gland in the neck. They’re a part of the endocrine system. Your endocrine system produces and regulates the hormones that affect your growth, development, and mood.
Parathyroid glands regulate the amount of calcium in the blood. When calcium levels are low, they release parathyroid hormone (PTH), which takes calcium from your bones.
Parathyroid gland removal refers to a type of surgery done to remove these glands. It’s also known as a parathyroidectomy. This surgery might be used if your body is producing too much calcium. This is a condition known as hypercalcemia.
There are different approaches to locating and removing the diseased parathyroid glands. In the traditional method, your surgeon explores all four glands visually to see which are diseased and which should be removed. This is called a bilateral neck exploration. Your surgeon makes an incision in the middle to lower portion of your neck. Sometimes, the surgeon will remove both glands on a single side.
If you have only one diseased gland, you’ll likely have a minimally invasive parathyroidectomy. People with parathyroid hyperplasia will usually have three and a half parathyroid glands removed. The surgeon will leave the remaining tissue to control calcium levels. However, the tissue will be implanted in an accessible place, like the forearm, in case it needs to be removed later.