Parathyroid disease

The parathyroid gland controls calcium metabolism important for the health of your bones!

Dr Girardi is a specialist endocrine surgeon focused on the treatment of patients with thyroid and parathyroid problems. He has performed over 1000 endocrine procedures and has been practicing this for 12 years.


The parathyroids usually number 4 and are tiny glands the size of a grain of rice!

The glands are situated behind the thyroid gland located in your neck. There are two on each side of the thyroid above (superior) and below (inferior). 

The parathyroid gland secretes parathyroid hormone (PTH) which acts on your bones and gut to absorb calcium.


Parathyroid disease

The parathyroids can increase in activity autonomously (primary hyper-parathyroidism) leading to osteoporosis which may increase bone fracture and cause kidney stones to develop. 

The most common cause of primary hyper-parathyroidism are adenomas - benign nodules.

Blood tests, ultrasound and a specialised test (Sestamibi) are usually performed to evaluate parathyroid glands.

Parathyroid disease requiring surgery include;
  • Symptomatic people 
    • Bone fractures
    • Kidney stones
  • Overactive glands in people age <50 li="">
  • High calcium levels (very high levels increase risk of heart problems)
  • Osteporosis
  • Kidney disease
There are a number of other rare causes of parathyroid disease listed below
  • Hyperplasia 
  • Cancer (very rare)
  • Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia (MEN 1 & 2A)
  • Familial hyperparathyroidism

If the diseased gland can be identified on Sestamibi and ultrasound then just the one parathyroid gland is removed through a minimally invasive approach.

On some occasions the one gland can not be identified on the tests before surgery and all 4 glands needed to be inspected.

Risks associated with these procedures are low with a complication rate of less than 1%.

The most worrying risk of surgery is bleeding and damage to the nerve however Dr Girardi has the experience that patients can rely to ensure that these risks are avoided.

What to Expect after Surgery
  • Day surgery
    • overnight stay is available
  • 2 – 3cm scar
    • scar heals in 2 weeks
  • 3 day recovery