What Are Abnormal Parathyroid Glands?

Abnormalities in the parathyroid glands can disrupt calcium balance and lead to various health issues. At Southern ENT Associates, our specialists offer comprehensive care for patients with abnormal parathyroid glands, providing advanced diagnostics, personalized treatment plans, and compassionate support throughout their journey to better health. The parathyroid glands are small, pea-sized glands in the neck near the thyroid gland. They play a crucial role in regulating calcium levels in the body, which is essential for bone health, nerve function, and muscle contractions. Abnormalities in these glands, such as overactivity (hyperparathyroidism) or underactivity (hypoparathyroidism), can disrupt calcium balance and lead to various symptoms and complications.

Symptoms of Abnormal Parathyroid Glands


  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Bone pain
  • Kidney stones
  • Frequent urination
  • Abdominal pain


  • Muscle cramps
  • Tingling or numbness in the hands and feet
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle spasms
  • Dry skin
  • Hair loss
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Causes of Abnormal Parathyroid Glands


  • Benign tumors (adenomas)
  • Hyperplasia of the parathyroid glands
  • Rarely, parathyroid cancer


  • Surgical removal of the parathyroid glands
  • Autoimmune conditions
  • Genetic factors
  • Radiation therapy to the neck

How Are Abnormal Parathyroid Glands Diagnosed?

Accurate diagnosis of abnormal parathyroid glands involves a comprehensive evaluation, including:

  • Blood tests to measure calcium and parathyroid hormone levels
  • Imaging studies such as ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI
  • Nuclear medicine scans (Sestamibi scan, PET scan)
  • Fine needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy, if necessary

Treatments for Abnormal Parathyroid Glands 

Treatment options for abnormal parathyroid glands may include:

  • Observation and monitoring
  • Medications to manage symptoms and regulate calcium levels
  • Minimally invasive parathyroidectomy for hyperparathyroidism
  • Calcium and vitamin D supplements for hypoparathyroidism
  • Surgical intervention for severe or persistent cases

Surgical Treatments for Abnormal Parathyroid Glands – What to Expect

Surgical intervention, known as parathyroidectomy, is often recommended for patients with hyperparathyroidism caused by abnormal parathyroid glands. This procedure removes the diseased or overactive glands, restoring normal calcium levels and alleviating associated symptoms. Here's what occurs in the surgery:


Before surgery, patients undergo a comprehensive evaluation, including blood tests, imaging studies, and consultations with their surgical team. Preoperative instructions may include fasting and discontinuation of certain medications to reduce the risk of complications.


Parathyroidectomy is performed under general anesthesia to ensure the patient remains unconscious and pain-free throughout the procedure. An anesthesiologist administers the anesthesia, monitors vital signs, and adjusts dosage as needed.


To access the parathyroid glands, our surgeon makes a small incision in the neck, typically along a natural skin crease or just below the Adam's apple. The size and location of the incision may vary depending on the specific surgical approach and the number of glands targeted for removal.

Gland Identification:

The surgeon carefully identifies and isolates the abnormal parathyroid glands using specialized instruments and surgical techniques. In some cases, intraoperative parathyroid hormone (PTH) monitoring may be used to confirm the removal of diseased tissue and ensure adequate gland function.

Gland Removal:

Once the abnormal glands are identified, the surgeon carefully removes them while preserving nearby structures such as the thyroid gland and recurrent laryngeal nerve. Minimally invasive techniques, such as focused exploration or intraoperative imaging, may be employed to minimize tissue disruption and reduce surgical trauma.


After the targeted glands are excised, the surgical incision is closed with sutures or surgical staples. The wound is typically covered with a sterile dressing to promote healing and reduce the risk of infection. Some patients may require a drain to remove excess fluid from the surgical site.

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What is the Recovery Time After Surgery?

Following surgery, patients are closely monitored in the recovery room until they awaken from anesthesia and their vital signs stabilize. Most patients can expect to return home the same day or after a brief observation period. Postoperative care may involve pain management, incision care instructions, and restrictions on physical activity.

Patients are scheduled for follow-up appointments with their surgical team to monitor healing progress, evaluate calcium levels, and address any concerns or complications. Long-term follow-up is essential to ensure optimal outcomes and ongoing management of hyperparathyroidism.

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Why Choose Us to Treat Abnormal Parathyroid Glands?

At Southern ENT Associates, our team of experienced, board-certified head and neck surgeons provides comprehensive care for patients with abnormal parathyroid glands. We offer advanced diagnostic techniques, personalized treatment plans, and compassionate support to achieve optimal outcomes and improve your health and quality of life. 

With 6 convenient locations in Southern Louisiana, we make accessing the treatment you need easy.

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