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Parathyroid cysts

Ghada El-Hajj Fuleihan, MD, MPH
Section Editor
Clifford J Rosen, MD
Deputy Editor
Jean E Mulder, MD


Primary hyperparathyroidism is usually caused by a parathyroid adenoma, occasionally by primary parathyroid hyperplasia, and rarely by a parathyroid cyst or parathyroid carcinoma. Parathyroid cysts are rare lesions of the neck or mediastinum, first described in 1880, with an estimated 300 cases reported in the literature since [1-6]. In a review of 6621 patients who had neck ultrasound investigations performed at a single center from 2003 to 2007 (mainly for evaluation of thyroid diseases), a parathyroid cyst was diagnosed in five cases [6]. Microcysts of the parathyroid gland are primarily found in aging glands, often incidentally noted on autopsy [2]. Generally, they have little clinical significance. Macrocysts of the parathyroid gland are larger than 1 cm, and these require clinical investigation.

This topic will provide an overview of parathyroid cysts. Other aspects of primary hyperparathyroidism are discussed elsewhere.

(See "Pathogenesis and etiology of primary hyperparathyroidism".)

(See "Primary hyperparathyroidism: Clinical manifestations".)

(See "Primary hyperparathyroidism: Diagnosis, differential diagnosis, and evaluation".)

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Literature review current through: Dec 2017. | This topic last updated: Aug 31, 2016.
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