Thyroid & Parathyroid Problems & Their Treatment
There are a number of thyroid and parathyroid disorders that can affect one’s health. Thyroid disorders include thyroid nodules, euthyroid goiter, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, thyroiditis and thyroid cancers. Parathyroid disorders include hyperparathyroidism. Thyroid and parathyroid disorders often require surgical correction by a trained otolaryngologist–head and neck surgeon, like those here at Dalton ENT.
Treatment of Thyroid Disorders
Many patients have a nodule or mass on their thyroid. This may be a new finding or present for many years. Often the patient has no symptoms, and the nodule or mass is discovered by a primary-care physician. Some nodules require removal to rule out thyroid cancer. Though uncommon and very treatable, thyroid cancer has been rising for the past 20 years.
Thyroid cancer surgery typically involves removal of the thyroid gland. Additionally, in some cases, the removal of lymph nodes is very important. After surgery, radioactive iodine is often utilized for treating microscopic disease.
A team approach involving an experienced head and neck surgeon and a dedicated endocrinologist is of critical importance to the comprehensive approach to the treatment of this very common cancer.
We diagnose hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid, by understanding the symptoms of underactive hormone production and testing it in the blood. We then prescribe hormone replacement therapy.
We also diagnose hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid, by understanding symptoms and running lab tests. The condition is commonly caused by either a single overactive thyroid nodule, an overactive multinodular goiter or Graves disease. Treatment for hyperthyroidism may involve medication, radioactive iodine or, in some cases, surgery.
Although medications can be given to lower the life-threatening calcium levels quickly, the preferred treatment for hyperparathyroidism is surgical. That is because the effects of such medications are short-lived, and the condition will persist and, in most cases, get worse over time. Most cases of disorders involving over activity of the parathyroid glands are caused by a benign tumor. Only 1% of primary hyperparathyroid states are related to cancer of the parathyroid glands.
Surgery for this condition can often be performed as an outpatient through a very tiny incision measuring about one to two inches in length. This incision heals extremely well and is barely detectable within weeks to months after surgery.