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Parathyroid Gland and Kidney Stones - Topic Overview

The parathyroid glands are four tiny glands located within the thyroid gland in the neck. They produce parathyroid hormone, which helps control the amount of calcium in the blood. If your parathyroid gland is too big (enlarged), it can cause your body to produce too much parathyroid hormone (hyperparathyroidism). This may lead to too much calcium in the urine, which makes it more likely that you will have calcium kidney stones.

If you get kidney stones because of enlarged parathyroid glands, your doctor may suggest surgery to remove one or more of the glands (parathyroidectomy).

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Understanding Kidney Stones -- the Basics

Kidney stones are created when certain substances in urine -- including calcium, oxalate, and sometimes uric acid -- crystallize. These minerals and salts form crystals, which can then join together and form a kidney stone. Kidney stones usually form within the kidney, where urine collects before flowing into the ureter, the tube that leads to the bladder. Small kidney stones are able to pass out of the body in the urine -- and may go completely unnoticed by you. But larger stones can irritate...

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In this procedure, you are given general anesthesia and the surgeon makes an incision in the front of your neck. He or she then finds the parathyroid glands, determines their size, and removes any enlarged ones. In most people, there is only one enlarged gland.

How long you stay in the hospital and how quickly you recover depend on your age and general health. But many people leave the hospital a few days after surgery. You typically can return to work and your normal activities in 1 to 2 weeks.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: May 02, 2013
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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