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Thyroid & Parathyroid Surgery Archive Questions

Below are Dr. Douglas Turner’s answers to Thyroid & Parathyroid Surgery questions
received through the Ask the Expert feature.

This content is provided for informational purposes only, and is not intended
to be a substitute for individual medical advice in diagnosing or treating a
health problem. Please consult with your physician about your specific health
care concerns.

Now displaying records 1 to 15 of 32.

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Q : 1

I was recently diagnosed with 2 nodules on either side of my thyroid, with one being over 4 cm. I have blood work consistent with hyperparathyroidism but am waiting on FNA results. Can the FNA determine if the nodules are thyroid or parathyroid tissue?

Yes as long as the test was ordered properly, cytology can sometimes be confusing but a parathyroid will have an elevated PTH level if it is thyroid tissue. We do not like to do this test routinely however.

Q : 2

Do you believe that having normal hormone levels of the parathyroid hormones, that a person can still have hyperparathyroidism?

Yes the PTH level can be in the normal range but be what we call inadequately suppressed (that is the calcium is high).

Q : 3

In parathyroid surgery, do you use the minimally invasive procedure?

Yes we do.

Q : 4

What's the procedure (surgical or not)when you have one or more overactive parathyroid gland(s)?

Typically they are removed surgically.

Q : 5

Is there a way to just remove the goiter without removing the thyroid gland?

The goiter is the thyroid.

Q : 6

I have hyperparathyroidism. What can happen if I don't have the surgery? My levels have been normal for the last 21 years.

Hyperparathyroidism can lead to osteoporosis and declining kidney function among other things.

Q : 7

Do you see patients from other states?

Yes. That is not a problem as long as he/she is comfortable with the distance.

Q : 8

I am scheduled for either a total or partial thyroidectomy and cannot decide which I should have. Are there those who do better with one or the other?

There are many factors that go into that decision, and depending on why the thyroid is being removed either may be the right choice.

Q : 9

I recently saw an endocrinologist and was diagnosed with three hard nodules on my right thyroid gland. What are the chances that these nodules are cancerous or will become cancerous? I've been referred to a thoracic surgeon, but are there options other than surgery?

We will generally recommend removal if they are large (over 3-4 cm) or if FNA is worrisome for cancer. We don't typically remove based on hard versus soft nodules, though there are some nodules that are difficult to obtain an FNA on because they are hard.

Q : 10

How many parathyroid surgeries do you do in a week?

I do about 20 cases each month. I do both thyroid and parathyroid cases and occasionally I have weeks where I have several patients receiving parathyroid surgeries.

Q : 11

What are the after effects of having your thyroid gland removed?

You will need thyroid replacement medication for the rest of your life. Additionally, some people report weight gain.

Q : 12

I was recently diagnosed with parathyroid disease. Is the surgery a minimally invasive surgery that only removes the thyroid gland tumor?

Yes, it does involve an incision, and it removes only the abnormal parathyroid (which is next to the thyroid). Usually the thyroid is not disturbed unless we see an abnormality with it.

Q : 13

Do you do minimally invasive radioguided parathyroid surgery? I am looking for an experienced surgeon for parathyroidectomy, preferably MIRPS.

I do perform this procedure. My technique does vary in that I usually also check ioPTH levels.

Q : 14

What happens if half of the thyroid is removed?

Some people require thyroid replacement, but most do fine without any additional medications.

Q : 15

I am 61 years old and have several tumors on my thyroid gland. My doctor did an ultrasound, but said they didn't look suspicious, that they had blood flow and were less than 1 cm. She said she didn't need to do biopsy and that I should be checked again in a year. Should I get second opinion or wait another year?

It is often reasonable to observe small benign appearing nodules assuming there are no risk factors otherwise or other variables about them which would cause concern.

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