What are parathyroid glands?
How do parathyroid glands control calcium?
This is the best starting point to learn what parathyroid glands are and how they control the calcium in our blood (and throughout our bodies). This is basic information that everybody with a parathyroid problem should understand. A very easy video to watch and learn from. After you watch this...watch the animation video and the operation video. Click on the "Share" button at the top right of this video to share this with your friends on Facebook. Many people (75% are women) are suffering from hyperparathyroidism while their doctor ignores their high blood calcium.
What is Hyperparathyroidism?
Hyperparathyroidism is a disease of the parathyroid glands caused by one or more of your parathyroid glands developing a tumor. If you have recently been told that you have a parathyroid problem this video is for you. This is one of our most popular and highest rated videos. You will learn that you have 4 parathyroid glands and when one develops a tumor the calcium system in your body goes crazy causing lots of troubles.
What is calcium?
Why is calcium so important?
This is an important parathyroid video that everybody should watch. We use calcium as the electrical system of our bodies to control many different things, like the conduction of nerve impulses down the length of nerves, and to make muscles contract. Our bodies were designed to have the electrical system controlled in a very tight "normal range". Thus, calcium is the most highly regulated element in our bodies--it is the only one with it's own regulatory system (the parathyroid glands).
State of the art mini-parathyroid surgery.
This is the most important video on parathyroid surgery. The most experienced parathyroid surgeons in the world walk you through a complete parathyroid operation in less than 13 minutes. There is zero blood. This is a very highly rated video. Parathyroid.com has an entire page of this website dedicated to this one video. We prefer you watch this video from the other page so you can learn more about the operation. Click Here.
We worked for 6 months on this video... so watch it! High-quality animation explains how a parathyroid gland grows into a tumor, making too much parathyroid hormone which causes calcium to be removed from the bones. Watch the calcium cause kidney stones, breast cancer, fatigue, and heart problems. Share this video with your friends on Facebook by clicking on the "share" button on the top right corner of the video--lots of ladies have bad osteoporosis and are missing out on the joys of life because of their parathyroid tumor! Spread the word! Please click the "like" button and "Share" this important video with the women in your life.
Where are parathyroid glands located?
Why can parathyroid surgery be so difficult?
Parathyroid glands can be located in a large area in the neck (and even in the chest). This parathyroid video explains where parathyroid glands are located and why surgeons often have a hard time finding parathyroid tumors. This is why everybody will tell you to find the most experienced parathyroid surgeon so you have the highest chance of having just one operation to remove the parathyroid tumor, and not a 6 hour "exploratory" operation.
Parathyroid Music Video:"Parathyroid Punk".
Very clever way to teach the bad things occurring with hyperparathyroidism.
This amazing and very professional music video was produced by a patient of ours in June, 2014 as a way to teach about hyperparathyroidism. Chrystene Ells is a professional puppet maker and producer who wrote and directed this music video. This is amazing... SHARE THIS with your friends! The lyrics are fantastic!
The negative sestamibi scan.
What does this mean? What should I do?
Virtually everybody with a parathyroid problem will get a sestamibi scan. The sestamibi scan is just a test, and it is NOT a good test. Scans are wrong more often then they are right. We see cases like this every day--the scan was negative so the high calcium was just "watched" for a few years until complications occurred. Far too much emphasis is placed on these scans. Do not let a "negative" scan make you "watch" the problem for a while. That could be a life-threatening decision. Just ask Joe!
Sestamibi scan basics.
How to interpret your own scan.
Sestamibi scans are emphasized far too much. They are usually wrong. However, everybody gets one, so let's be smart about it and understand what is going on. If used correctly, there is a tremendous amount of information to be learned. Unfortunately everybody just wants to use the scan to find the parathyroid tumor and the scans are very bad at doing this. Lets start with the basics--how to see if you have a good scan.
Three most common questions.
On this parathyroid video Dr Norman discusses the three most common questions patients ask on their day of surgery: 1) Am I going to get another parathyroid tumor--the answer is NO--not if all four of your parathyroid glands are examined... the answer is 15% yes if only one parathyroid gland is examined at surgery--so make sure your surgeon looks at all of your parathyroid glands. 2) Should I take Fosamax, Actonel, Boniva, or Reclast after the operation? 3) Are my kids going to get parathyroid problems?
Pre-Op chat with Dr Norman.
Listen in as Dr Norman has a chat with one of his patients. He discusses cure rates (near 100%), complication rates (near zero), and the fact that nearly all of our patients have all four parathyroid glands examined and their hormone production measured. He discusses the information that your doctors will be sent (photos, hormone levels, letters, etc).
Low vitamin D in your blood
cannot cause a high calcium!
Almost all patients with a parathyroid tumor will have low vitamin D. This is protective. If your calcium is high, then you can expect your vitamin D to be low. The high calcium is caused by a parathyroid tumor. A low vitamin D cannot cause the calcium to go high. If your doctor says you have "Secondary Hyperparathyroidism" because you have a low vitamin D and wants you to take high doses of vitamin D, then this video is for you (and your doctor). This is a lecture Dr Norman gave to the national meeting of endocrinologists. Advanced but good. Turn up volume.
More about sestamibi scans.
Sestamibi scans can be helpful, but usually are NOT. Most sestamibi scans are so worthless that we stopped telling patients to send us their scans about 8 years ago because they are wrong more often than they are right. Even when they are correct and show the parathyroid tumor you can still have a second tumor 15-20% of the time (shown nicely in the surgery video above). DO NOT EMPHASIZE THE RESULTS OF THIS SCAN. Sestamibi scans hurt far more people than they help! Your scan is likely to be wrong and cause you problems--even if it is positive!
Technical look at lab values on 10,000
patients with hyperparathyroidism (Part 1)
This is a lecture that Dr Norman gave to the American Society of Endocrinologists in 2017 at their annual convention. There is a LOT of information here, some of it more technical than the basic videos above. If you are really interested in parathyroid issues, then this is for you but don't let this be the first video you watch. It is more advanced. These graphs can be found on our Advanced Diagnosis Page.
Technical look at lab values on 10,000
patients with hyperparathyroidism (Part 2)
This is the second part of the lecture above. This one looks at PTH levels and vitamin D levels, putting the entire picture together. Watch Part 1 (above) first.
NIH Criteria (Part )
One of our surgeons gives a lecture to the American Association of Endocrinologists in 2010 about the "Criteria" for sending hyperparathyroidism patients for surgery. This is the so-called "NIH Criteria" which some endocrinologists who don't know much about parathyroid disease will use as a "guideline". We see patients from over 750 different endocrinologists every year and we can tell you that none of the good ones believe this crap. If your doctor says that you should wait until calcium levels get above 11.5, or that surgery isn't needed because you're over 50 year old, or that you don't need the tumor removed because the calcium in your urine is not very high... then this video is for you.
--Another Surgery Video--
The ORIGINAL MIRP Mini-Parathyroid Operation
This is the original MIRP mini-parathyroid operation video that Dr Norman performed live on the internet and on TV in June, 2005. It was shown on the Today Show with Katie Couric. There are some things in this video that are a bit out-dated (like the fact that we almost always look at all four parathyroid glands now--we didn't know better in 2005! At that time we were doing about 70% of cases looking at all four glands, and 20% looking only on one side. That was more than 19,000 operations ago! And we learned that those people who we only looked on ONE side of the neck had a 30% chance of coming back to us for another operation. Those people who had all four looked at are cured for life. Despite us doing the WRONG operation, most of the movie is extremely good, and you can see more of the actual operation than you can in our new video. The first 15 minutes is a good lecture by Dr Norman.
Time: 1 hour
There are three causes of "secondary hyperparathyroidism". Renal failure (on dialysis), gastric bypass surgery, and Celiac disease. Very few patients should see this video. This is NOT for patients with high calcium! This is not a video for everybody to watch. "Hyperplasia" the enlargement of all four parathyroid glands is RARE.
This page was last updated: 04/26/2022