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A 52-year-old male asked:

What happens if one of your parathyroid glands is damaged?

3 doctor answers9 doctors weighed in
Dr. James Chu
Endocrinology 26 years experience
Three more remaining: There are four parathyroid glands situated in the neck, behind the thyroid gland -- two on left and two on right, usually a few centimeters apart. These glands make parathyroid hormone (PTH) that control calcium and bone metabolism. Usually only 0.5 to 1 parathyroid is sufficient to make enough pth. If 3 to 3.5 glands are damaged or removed, the body can still maintain PTH and calcium control.
Dr. Peter Mowschenson
General Surgery 49 years experience
Nothing: You only need one parathyroid gland to be fine!
Dr. Brendan Stack jr., md, facs, face
Head and Neck Surgery 33 years experience
Redundancy: You only need one functioning parathyroid to lead a healthy normal life. This anatomical fact makes thyroid surgery largely safe. Sometimes parathyroids can be removed or damaged during thyroidectomy.

Similar questions

A 40-year-old member asked:

What would happen if the parathyroid glands were removed?

2 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Frederick Singer
Endocrinology 59 years experience
Low blood calcium: Removal of the parathyroid glands would immediately result in a low blood calcium and ususally tingling, muscle cramps, impaired thinking and occasionally, seizures. It can be treated with a powerful form of vitamin d and calcium.

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Last updated Nov 28, 2017

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