Santa Rosa Head & Neck Surgery
SRHN physicians offer their expertise in surgery of the thyroid and parathyroid glands. Of course, all efforts are made to treat diseases conservatively and avoid surgery whenever possible. When surgery is necessary, our surgeons employ minimally invasive procedures and use techniques of nerve monitoring to reduce the chance of complications.
- Thyroid Gland: The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland in the lower neck that secretes a hormone responsible for regulating the body’s metabolism. An overactive thyroid gland secretes too much hormone (hyperthyroidism) which leads to symptoms of racing heartbeat, tremors, and intolerance of hot temperatures. Too little thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism) causes fatigue, weight gain, and intolerance of cold temperatures. These hormone imbalances can usually be treated by prescription medications. An enlarged thyroid gland (goiter) is quite common and usually is not a cause for concern. Nevertheless, any enlarged thyroid gland should be evaluated by a physician to make sure that a cancer does not exist.
- Thyroidectomy (Thyroid surgery): is performed for one of three reasons. If an enlarged thyroid gland begins to compress surrounding structures of the neck, then symptoms of difficulty swallowing, shortness of breath, or hoarseness may occur. These “compressive symptoms” can be relieved with surgical removal of the thyroid gland. The second reason for thyroidectomy is when there is a suspicion for a cancer of the gland. Finally, the thyroid gland is removed in rare circumstances when a thyroid hormone imbalance cannot be controlled with medication alone.
- Parathyroid Gland: The parathyroid glands are four small glands adjacent to the thyroid which are responsible for maintaining appropriate calcium levels in the body. Enlargement of one or more parathyroid glands leads to a loss of calcium in the bones and elevated calcium in the blood. In severe cases, this can cause calcium stones in the kidneys, bone fractures, fatigue, and depression. In these situations, parathyroidectomy is indicated. Our physicians use preoperative imaging to try to determine which of the four parathyroid glands might be overactive. The offending gland can then be removed with a targeted, minimally invasive procedure.