Surgery is most often recommended for patients with thyroid nodules (lumps) that are either suspected or proven to be cancerous. Surgery is also the treatment of choice for some patients with thyroid enlargement (goiter) and hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid).
Thyroid surgery is one of the most common operations in the United States, with more than 140,000 thyroidectomies (removal of the thyroid) performed each year.
Among other endocrine problems of the head and neck, hyperparathyroidism (overactive thyroid and parathyroids) occurs in one in every 1000 women in the U.S., putting them at risk for compromised bone density. Thyroid surgery to prevent long-term bone density problems has been shown to be the treatment of choice over non-surgical strategies.
Parathyroid problems are most often discovered through an elevated blood calcium level, caused when the parathyroid glands get stuck in overdrive, producing too much of the hormone the body uses to regulate calcium.
Too much calcium can cause a variety of long-term problems, including kidney stones, peptic ulcer disease, high blood pressure and mood changes. Once the parathyroids get into this overactive state, often the best option is to get them out of the game entirely. Typically, parathyroid surgery involved exploration on both sides of the neck and removal of any enlarged parathyroid glands.
In addition to the nerve monitoring system, Dr. Randolph and his team have developed a sophisticated protocol that enables them to carefully monitor parathyroid activity during the surgery, in real time.
The system enables the surgeon to remove only the amount of parathyroid tissue that is absolutely necessary to return blood calcium levels to a normal level. It keeps surgical intervention to a minimum and prevents removal of healthy tissue.