• In two of 182 patients with verified primary hyperparathyroidism, microscopical hyperplasia was present in all parathyroid glands that were normal in size or only slightly enlarged. All parathyroid glands in another two patients showed microscopical hyperplasia and varied from a normal size of 190 mg. In seven additional patients, microscopical hyperplasia was present in one, several, or all parathyroid glands, which varied in weight from normal to 350 mg. Familial hyperparathyroidism or multiple endocrine neoplasia was evident in five of 11 patients. Contributing to difficulties was the experience in five patients in whom removal of mildly enlarged parathyroid glands corrected hypercalcemia, but definite microscopical abnormalities were not evident by routine histologic study of the glands. Thus, there appears to be a spectrum of abnormalities relative to size and microscopical changes in parathyroid glands of patients with primary hyperparathyroidism. The surgeon should be aware of these patterns of parathyroid hyperplasia that require a search for a fifth parathyroid gland and a subtotal parathyroidectomy.
(Arch Surg 111:348-354, 1976)