Parathyroid glands are typically four separate very small endocrine glands that are located very close to the thyroid gland in the lower midline portion of the neck (hence they derive their name as "parathyroid", being next to the thyroid gland). These glands produce a very tightly regulated hormone, which controls the levels of the calcium in the bloodstream. Calcium is a vitally important element that participates in many vital functions of the body including muscle contraction and many other important chemical reactions necessary for life. Sometimes, some of the parathyroid glands become hyperactive (hyperplasia) or grow a non-cancerous tumor, called adenoma, which produce excessive amount of the hormone, thus creating elevated levels of calcium in the bloodstream at the expense of depleting the bones (which are the reservoir of calcium in our bodies) causing rapidly progressive osteoporosis (weak and fragile bones). The excessive calcium causes many problems in the body including kidney stones, psychological disease such as depression or psychosis, high blood pressure, abdominal pain and other anomalies. In those situations, the abnormal gland or glands need to be removed surgically. Our surgeons perform the state of the art, minimally invasive parathyroidectomy utilizing state-of-the-art technology such as intraoperative hormone measurements and intraoperative frozen section evaluations to assure that the patient is indeed cured of the disease before the surgery is ended. We also use intraoperative laryngeal nerve monitoring to be able to localize and preserve the vocal cord nerves and minimize risk of vocal cord paralysis during the surgery.
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