The dangers of parathyroid biopsy

Joanne Kim, Gilad Horowitz, Michael Hong, Mario Orsini, Sylvia L. Asa, Kevin Higgins*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: We report an unusual case of a 66-year-old female with a suspicious thoracic outlet mass presenting with severe biochemical hyperparathyroidism and classic hypercalcemic symptoms of renal and bone involvement. Case Presentation: There was clinical suspicion for parathyroid carcinoma, further supported by intra-operative findings. However, the final pathology described a primary hyperceullar parathyroid lesion with pathognomonic changes secondary to fine-needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy, along with a separate parathyroid lesion likely resulting from seeding along the needle tract. Upon further review, record of a remote FNA was discovered. This case highlights the complications associated with parathyroid FNA resulting in a diagnostic challenge and raising the possibility of malignancy. Conclusions: We therefore recommend to take caution when there is a prior parathyroid FNA, as it can present with the risks of a secondary lesion from seeding and increase resemblance of malignancy both clinically and through pathologic diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4
JournalJournal of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - 7 Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Diagnostic complication
  • FNA biopsy
  • Parathyroid
  • Pathology


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