Parathyroid Surgery Specialist

Beach Cities ENTS

Ear, Nose & Throat Specialists located in Torrance, CA

Primary hyperparathyroidism is caused by abnormal function of one or more of your parathyroid glands. This condition causes elevated levels of calcium in the blood, which can result in various serious complications. The only treatment for this condition which results in a complete cure is parathyroid surgery to remove the overactive parathyroid gland. The board-certified doctors at Beach Cities ENTS in Torrance, California, have extensive experience and special training in performing parathyroid surgery. To schedule an evaluation for parathyroid surgery, call the South Bay area office or schedule an appointment online today.

Parathyroid Surgery Q & A

What should I know about the parathyroid glands?

You have four tiny parathyroid glands located behind the thyroid gland. These glands produce parathyroid hormone, which regulates the amount of calcium in your blood, keeping it in a tightly controlled range. 

Having just the right amount of calcium in your bloodstream is essential to keep your heart, nervous system, and muscles functioning normally. 

When blood calcium is too low, the glands release parathyroid hormone. The hormone boosts calcium levels by breaking down bones to release their calcium. The glands can also increase your body’s ability to absorb calcium from food or prevent the kidneys from eliminating calcium.

When might I need parathyroid surgery?

When you need surgery to remove the parathyroid glands, there’s usually one problem to blame: Primary hyperparathyroidism. 

This condition occurs when one or more of the parathyroid glands develop a noncancerous tumor, and the tumor produces too much parathyroid hormone. As a result, you end up with abnormally high blood levels of calcium.

It is usually discovered by accident during a routine blood test showing high calcium levels. Additional blood tests are needed to confirm it is not due to another cause.

What symptoms develop due to primary hyperparathyroidism?

On its own, primary hyperparathyroidism may not cause symptoms at first. However, high blood levels of calcium cause a wide range of health problems over time if left untreated, including:

  • Osteoporosis
  • Kidney stones
  • Kidney disease
  • Pancreatitis
  • Muscle weakness
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Heart arrhythmias
  • High blood pressure
  • Increased risk of stroke

Over time, high blood levels of calcium can even damage organs throughout your body as the excess calcium builds up in soft tissues.

What happens during parathyroid surgery?

Specialized testing prior to your surgery helps your Beach Cities ENTS doctor determine if one or more parathyroid glands are enlarged. Your testing includes:

  • Blood tests
  • Ultrasound of your neck
  • CT scan of your neck
  • Sestamibi scan (nuclear medicine study) of your neck 

In most cases, only one gland is affected, and your doctor can perform a minimally invasive procedure, focused parathyroidectomy, to remove that gland.

If more than one gland has a tumor, or if the results of your pre-surgery testing aren’t clear, your doctor may need to make a slightly larger incision in order to examine all the parathyroid glands and determine which need removal.

Your procedure may take 45 minutes to three hours, depending on the number of glands with tumors.

Most patients go home the same day and can immediately get back to their normal routine, with just one restriction: You need to avoid heavy lifting, bending, or straining for one week. You also need to start taking calcium supplements to replace the amount lost from your bones. 

If you have been diagnosed with high calcium due to primary hyperparathyroidism or have been told you need parathyroid surgery, call Beach Cities ENTS or make an appointment online today for a consultation with one of our board-certified expert physicians.

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