The parathyroid glands are four small endocrine glands located behind the H-shaped thyroid in the throat. Managing blood levels of calcium, phosphorus, and Vitamin D, these little structures may work overtime, causing too much calcium to circulate throughout the body. Sometimes, as a result, surgery is necessary to treat this condition.
Read on to find out more about this procedure and if a general surgeon in Sarasota, Florida, can perform it for you.
The Functions of the Parathyroid Glands
The little parathyroid glands manage specific chemicals in your bloodstream – calcium, phosphorus, and Vitamin D. With proper levels of these chemicals, bone and neuromuscular health thrive. The parathyroid glands control nerve function, muscle movement, blood pressure, heart rate, and bone density.
Some people experience overactive parathyroid glands. As a result, they may have too much calcium and too little phosphorus in their bloodstreams. Accordingly, they develop an array of potentially harmful symptoms, including:
- Lower bone density and risk for fracture
- Aching joints
- Muscle weakness
- Back pain
- Excessive thirst
- Brain fog
- Nausea and vomiting
- Urinary tract problems, such as kidney stones and frequent urination
Diagnosing And Treating Hyperparathyroidism
Your primary care physician (PCP) in Sarasota, Florida may discover hyperparathyroidism on blood work during your annual physical. Symptoms are important diagnostic criteria as well, and the doctor may order a Sestamibi test which combines ultrasound imaging with an injected radioactive substance, or a dedicated parathyroid CT scan. Test results show the doctor the structure of the parathyroid glands and any areas of abnormal activity.
In addition, your PCP may order a DEXA scan which evaluates bone density, a 24-hour urine collection to assess kidney function, and other tests to confirm this sometimes-tricky diagnosis.
Milder cases of hyperparathyroidism may need only periodic monitoring. Supplements of Vitamin D and calcium help regularize blood levels. However, some patients with more severe symptoms need their parathyroid glands removed surgically. Women ages 65 and older who have genetically linked hyperparathyroidism or cancer often develop the more severe type of this chronic endocrine condition.
Can a General Surgeon Perform My Parathyroid Surgery?
This is a valid question for any patient requiring correction of a parathyroid condition. Experts at the Mayo Clinic cite parathyroidectomy as the best treatment for primary hyperparathyroidism.
This treatment may be performed as an open surgery or as a small incision(s), minimally invasive procedure. Local anesthetic numbs the area, and the surgeon removes all but a small portion of the four parathyroid glands. Most patients go home the day of their surgeries.
For the best result possible, a patient should select a surgeon who has extensive experience in performing parathyroidectomies. For instance, general surgeon, Dr. Joseph Mets at Intercoastal Medical Group, has performed numerous parathyroid procedures. He is a highly credentialed surgeon who works out of our Cattleridge Medical Building in Sarasota, Florida.
General Surgery at Intercoastal Medical Group
If you have questions about your thyroid, parathyroid, or other endocrine glands and their function, we encourage you to see your primary care physician at Intercoastal Medical Group. If you do not have a PCP, we would feel privileged to arrange a consultation with one of our providers at one of our 10 convenient locations.
Plus, if surgery is in your future, you may wish to consult with Dr. Joseph Mets, a general, thyroid and parathyroid surgeon. Look at our contact page for a location and provider near you or request an appointment online.