Thyroid & parathyroid

Parathyroid nonmalignant

Other nonneoplastic parathyroid

Last author update: 1 January 2013
Last staff update: 17 August 2023

Copyright: 2003-2024,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Parathyroid cysts[TI]

Monika Roychowdhury, M.D.
Hanni Gulwani, M.B.B.S.
Page views in 2023: 1,650
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Cite this page: Roychowdhury M., Gulwani H. Other nonneoplastic parathyroid. website. Accessed February 26th, 2024.
Definition / general
  • Parathyromatosis: microscopic foci of hyperplastic parathyroid tissue in neck associated with chief cell hyperplasia and prior surgery (Hum Pathol 1990;21:234)
Clinical features
Parathyroid cyst
  • Pure cysts are present at any age; contain high levels of parathyroid hormone; can diagnose by FNA via PTH in fluid (Am J Clin Pathol 1986;86:776)
  • Parathyroid derives from third and fourth branchial pouch, as does thymus
  • Cysts may be present in low cervical or anterosuperior mediastinum
  • Patients usually are normocalcemic and present with an asymptomatic mass
  • May be hyperplastic gland (Am J Clin Pathol 1982;77:104), adenoma with cystic degeneration, heterotopic salivary gland-like tissue (Am J Surg Pathol 2000;24:837)
  • Can diagnose by FNA if PTH in fluid (Am J Clin Pathol 1986;86:776)
  • Cystic parathyroid lesions often contain turbid or colored fluid
  • Functional parathyroid cysts more common than nonfunctional parathyroid cysts (Arch Surg 2009;144:52)
  • During resection, cyst rupture should be avoided and patients with large cysts should be managed expectantly to forestall the development of symptomatic hypocalcemia
Radiology images

Contributed by Ayana Suzuki, C.T.

Parathyroid cyst: large multilocular cyst

Case reports
  • Parathyroid cyst: simple aspiration to diagnosis and treat, ethanol ablation for recurrent cases (Eur J Radiol 2013;82:316)
Clinical images

Contributed by Ayana Suzuki, C.T.

Parathyroid cyst: clear fluid

Gross description
Parathyroid cyst
  • Usually large, in inferior glands
  • 1 - 10 cm, unilocular, thin walled, clear fluid containing PTH, no nodules
Microscopic (histologic) description
Parathyroid cyst
  • Lined by flattened parathyroid chief cells, oxyphils, clear cells; no nodules
  • Cyst wall has uniform thickness
  • May contain granular material resembling colloid
  • No cholesterol granulomas, no cartilage, no smooth muscle
Microscopic (histologic) images

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Parathyroid cyst: islands of parathyroid tissue

parathyroiditis in

Positive stains
Negative stains
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