There are four parathyroid glands in the neck, usually attached to the thyroid gland. They control the calcium levels in the blood which is important to a wide array of functions throughout the body. The most common problem with parathyroid glands is anoveractive gland due to a benign tumour called primary hyperparathyroidism. In 90%+ of cases, only one gland is involved.
The surgery of the parathyroid glands involves locating the diseased parathyroid gland, either with imaging before surgery or by a neck exploration at surgery. If the abnormal gland(s) are found on imaging prior to surgery, then a minimalist targeted approach to removing the abnormal gland can be undertaken. If they cannot be found or disease is due to multi-gland disease, then a bilateral neck exploration is undertaken and the abnormal glands removed.