Surgical management of thyroid and parathyroid disease involves the management of both benign and malignant diseases of the thyroid and parathyroid glands. Thyroid surgery is typically performed for diagnostic purposes (i.e. to determine if a cancer is present) or to remove a known cancer from within the thyroid. These types of procedure can involve removal of one half of the thyroid gland or the entire gland and are performed through a small incision in the front of the neck. When there is concern for spread of a cancer to the surrounding lymph nodes, these are also removed at the time of surgery. Symptoms of thyroid cancer can include a non-painful bump on the lower neck and hoarseness.

Parathyroid surgery is most commonly performed for benign tumors of the parathyroid glands, called parathyroid adenomas. These tumors can disrupt calcium metabolism and result in high calcium levels in the blood. Symptoms of high blood calcium levels include abdominal pain, mood changes, kidney stones, and osteoporosis. Luckily, these benign tumors can be removed through a small incision in the neck and blood calcium levels quickly return to normal.

A work-up for a thyroid or parathyroid problem will typically involve a thorough history, careful physical examination of your neck and an ultrasound exam performed by your physician. In addition, fine needle aspiration (FNA) biopsies are often performed to obtain tissue from within the nodules to assist your doctor in making treatment recommendations.

Other rare endocrine tumors of the head and neck include paragangliomas, carotid body tumors, glomus tumors. Given the unusual nature of these tumors, they typically require careful preoperative workup and detailed discussions with patients regarding the treatment options and what to expect after the procedure. Our head and neck surgeons specialize in treating these types of rare diseases.