The American Association of Endocrine Surgeons, Patient Education Site

Parathyroid surgery: Biopsy

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Will a biopsy be performed in the operating room?

Whether or not an intraoperative biopsy (called a frozen section) will be done depends on the individual surgeon's practice and expertise. Some surgeons routinely send the removed parathyroid gland to confirm that it is indeed parathyroid tissue. Some surgeons obtain a biopsy only rarely. Occasionally a biopsy may be performed in the operating room to confirm the presence of parathyroid cancer. Parathyroid cancer is extremely rare and is found in less than 1% of parathyroid operations. (see Parathyroid Cancer) Usually the surgeon will be able to identify in the operating room if a cancer is present (it will often be rock hard and grow into other structures like the thyroid).


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