What is parathyroid autotransplantation and when is it indicated in thyroidectomy?

Updated: May 08, 2018
  • Author: Neerav Goyal, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
  • Print


In the event of accidental avulsion of a parathyroid gland or compromising its blood supply, the effected parathyroid gland should be removed and placed within a specimen cup on ice. A portion of the removed tissue should be sent for frozen section to confirm it to be in fact parathyroid tissue. The surgeon should then consider auto-implantation of the gland.

The parathyroid gland specimen should be minced into small 1-2 mm pieces and placed in a muscular pocket. Auto-implantation is described in the forearm or the sternocleidomastoid muscle. When implanting into the sternocleidomastoid muscle, a small pocket should be made within the muscle fibers. A nonabsorbable radio-opaque marker, such as a surgical clip, can be used to identify this location in the event of future surgical intervention.

Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!