The small, flattened parathyroid glands are embedded in the posterior surfaces of the lateral lobes of the thyroid gland, as shown in figure 11.28. There are usually four parathyroid glands: a superior and an inferior pair, although the precise number can vary. Each parathyroid gland is a small yellowish-brown body 3 to 8 mm (0.1 to 0.3 in.) long, 2 to 5 mm (0.07 to 0.2 in.) wide, and about 1.5 mm (0.05 in.) deep.
Test Yourself Before You Continue
1. Describe the structure of the thyroid gland and list the effects of thyroid hormones.
Decreasing blood Ca2+
■ Figure 11.28 A posterior view of the parathyroid glands. The parathyroids are embedded in the tissue of the thyroid gland.
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