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Clinical Note
July 2011

Undescended Parathyroid Adenoma Arising Within the Hypoglossal Nerve

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Division of Head and Neck Surgery, Department of Surgery (Drs Lau and Abemayor), and Division of General Surgery, Endocrine Surgical Unit (Dr Yeh), David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, University of California, Los Angeles. Mr Nguyen is a medical student at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2011;137(7):709-711. doi:10.1001/archoto.2011.90

Ectopic parathyroid adenomas are found in up to 16% of initial operations1 and 50% of reoperations2 for primary hyperparathyroidism. A small fraction of ectopic glands are located well outside the bounds of a conventional low cervical Kocher-type exposure. Examples include mediastinal adenomas, which are generally inferior glands embryologically, and undescended superior adenomas. Undescended superior parathyroid glands are found in fewer than 0.1% of cases and are defined as glands that are located 1 cm or more cephalic to the upper pole of the thyroid gland.3 They may be found along or within the pharyngeal wall and almost never lie above the carotid bifurcation. Intraneural parathyroid adenomas are distinctively rare. We report the second published case (to our knowledge) of an ectopic parathyroid adenoma arising within the hypoglossal nerve.

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