For a parathyroid tumor (which is usually a non-malignant hormone producing tumor), a mini-parathyroid surgery is a new way to remove the tumor(s).
The surgeon uses a special probe in the operating room that can detect which parathyroid gland is bad, which parathyroid glands are normal, and where each of these parathyroid glands are located in the neck, and the surgeon can measure how much hormone each of the parathyroid glands are making during the operation.
The standard parathyroid operation does not do either of these. The old way requires the surgeon to dissect all parts of the neck and "explore" for the parathyroids, hoping to find one that is big so it can be removed.
For more information: http://www.parathyroid.com/treatment-surgery.htm