The four parathyroid glands, each about the size of a grain of rice, are located behind the thyroid gland in the neck.
Hormones from the parathyroid glands regulate blood levels of calcium and other minerals. Parathyroid gland problems requiring parathyroidectomy include hyperparathyroidism, parathyroid nodules and parathyroid tumors.
The surgeon makes a small incision in the skin of the neck and parts a thin layer of muscle to gain access to the thyroid gland and the parathyroid glands behind it. The surgeon can examine the parathyroid glands and remove those that are damaged or affected by disease.
The surgeon then returns the muscles of the front of the neck to their proper position and secures them in place. The skin is closed with sutures or glue.