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What is Your Parathyroid?

The parathyroid glands are also at the front of the neck at the four corners of the thyroid. They produce a parathyroid hormone (PTH). It keeps the calcium balanced in the intestines, kidneys and bones. It also controls the production of vitamin D3. This delicate balance of calcium and D3 keeps the body functioning properly. If there is too much calcium released into the bloodstream, you can develop a condition known as hyperparathyroidism. This can result in bone loss, a breakdown in muscles and the nervous system, and kidney dysfunction.

In the past, parathyroid surgery was done as an open procedure, where all four of the glands were exposed and evaluated for removal. Now, your surgeon will order an ultrasound to locate the optimal site for the surgery. Under light anesthesia — sometimes a local numbing medication and a relaxant - the surgeon makes a tiny incision at the site of the diseased parathyroid gland. The gland is removed, and the site is closed using absorbable stitches. It is covered with a steri-strip (surgical tape that protects the site).The procedure is quick, taking about 20 to 30 minutes. You most likely will be able to go home within a few hours. Remember to bring a driver as you cannot drive home after surgery.

Learn What to Expect from Parathyroidectomy.