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Endocrine Pathology Online

Pathology of Parathyroid Adenoma

Dr Sampurna Roy MD                                   




It was once doubted that parathyroid adenomas are a true neoplasm, but recent molecular biological evidence suggests that they are monoclonal proliferations, even when of "tertiary" type (occurring on a background of secondary hyperparathyroidism in chronic renal failure).

Histopathology Image

Most tumours are composed of chief cells.The oxyphil cell type seen in some cases of parathyroid adenoma is the least common cell type for an adenoma.

Intraoperative assessment of the parathyroid includes consideration of the sizes of all four glands, frozen sections and analysis of lipid stains.

A true parathyroid adenoma results in the other glands being small and is associated with a suppressed rim of (lipid-rich) adjacent parathyroid tissue.

Some have advocated analysis of the specific gravity of the gland as a means of distinguishing adenoma from hyperplasia.

Tissues excised erroneously in searching for parathyroids include : lymph nodes, thyroid and thymus.


Further reading

Pathology of parathyroid glands : Practical aspects for routine pathological investigations.

A case of parathyroid adenoma with oxyphil cells.

Parathyroid adenoma with prominent lymphocytic infiltrate.

Three large, functioning cystic parathyroid adenomas.





Dr Sampurna Roy  MD

Consultant  Histopathologist (Kolkata - India)






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