From 1986 to 1990, we performed total parathyroidectomy with simultaneous autotransplantation (TPX with AT) of parathyroid tissue into the forearm in 13 patients on chronic maintenance hemodialysis with severe secondary hyperparathyroidism. The indications for surgery included persistent hypercalcemia, hyperphosphatemia, roentgenological signs of renal osteopathy, soft tissue calcifications and severe pruritus. The parathyroidectomy was performed by an experienced surgeon who removed all four parathyroid glands and transplanted 10 mm3 of parathyroid tissue into the brachioradialis muscle. After an average postoperative period of 33.5 months, 10 of 13 patients developed recurrent clinical and biochemical hyperparathyroidism requiring reoperation. Seven of these patients underwent removal of the autograft. In 5 patients, however, the success was minimal. Four of these patients had a second autograft resection, but only transient improvement resulted. Our recurrence rate after TPX with AT is very high. The histological aspect of the resected autograft is similar to tumor-like growth and this may account for the results. A therapeutic alternative to TPX with AT appears to be necessary.