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Parathyroid glands (range in position)

This shows a composite of the positions of the parathyroid glands found in 25 cadavers in relation to the thyroid gland and trachea. The thyroid gland is illustrated as transparent so the parathyroid gland positions can be seen. The brackets on each side show from top to bottom the number found in the upper, middle, and lower thirds of the thyroid gland, and the number beneath the thyroid gland. On each side the “superior” parathyroid gland is shown in outline, and the “inferior” parathyroid gland is shown shaded. Parathyroid glands that could not be classified by location or that were not one of a pair are shown as cross-hatched. Source: Heinbach WF Jr. (1933). (Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Public domain.)

Associated Disorders

  • Acute and chronic renal failure
  • Endocrine disorders
  • Familial hypocalciuric hypercalcemia
  • Granulomatous disorders
  • Infantile hypercalcemia (Williams syndrome)
  • Malignancy
  • Milk-alkali syndrome
  • Primary hyperparathyroidism