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Clinical Problem Solving: Radiology
June 2007

Radiology Quiz Case 1: Diagnosis

Author Affiliations

Copyright 2007 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.2007

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2007;133(6):616-617. doi:10.1001/archotol.133.6.616

The anatomical variance of the parathyroid glands has been described elsewhere in the literature. Textbook descriptions of the surgical anatomy cite the area approximately 1 cm superior to the intersection of the recurrent laryngeal nerve and the inferior thyroid artery as the most frequent site of the superior parathyroid glands.1 The most common location for the inferior parathyroid is typically cited as the area of the lower thyroid pole, upper thymus, or thyrothymic ligament. This description belies the more complex anatomical reality, and clinical experience has demonstrated that ectopic parathyroid glands remain a diagnostic and operative challenge in modern surgical practice.