Parathyroid Embryology Anatomy and Pathology

Miguel F. Herrera, MD ■ Armando Gamboa-Domínguez, MD

A small gland located in the vicinity of the thyroid gland was first described in 1880 by the Swedish anatomist Sandstrom,1 who named it "glandula parathyroideae." The first anatomic descriptions of the parathyroid glands in humans were published by Welsh in 18982 and Halsted and Evans in 1907.3 These authors demonstrated in their classic studies that there are typically four parathyroid glands (two on each side) with a relatively constant mutual location. It is essential for the surgeon dealing with endocrine surgery to be familiar with the embryology, anatomy, and histology of parathyroid glands to appreciate the rationale of certain surgical maneuvers and decisions.

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