Thyroid & Parathyroid
Thyroid nodules are common and can be malignant (cancer) or benign (non-cancerous). A needle biopsy can determine if the nodule is malignant or suspicious. If it is, surgery will be required. When surgery is needed to treat thyroid nodules, or thyroid cancer, part or all of the thyroid gland is removed. This is generally a safe procedure. Most patients leave the hospital the day after their surgery.
Parathyroid glands are 4 small glands located behind the thyroid. In the United States, about 100,000 people will develop hyperparathyroidism each year, women outnumbering men 2:1. A routine blood test indicating a high Calcium level can alert your doctor that hyperparathyroidism may exist even when symptoms may not be apparent.
When symptoms do exist, they may include weakness and fatigue, depression, aches and pains, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, constipation, confusion, increased thirst and urination. Thinning of the bones can occur without symptoms, but with risk of fractures. Increased calcium loss in the urine may cause kidney stones.
Surgery to remove the enlarged gland or glands cures 95% of patients who undergo this procedure. The good news is that bone mass can be restored and symptoms prior to surgery may be eliminated within weeks afterward.