Minimal Access Surgery & Parathyroid Disease
Parathyroid Disease is increasingly more common and predominantly cured by surgical intervention. It can be performed safely and effectively with proper pre-operative workup and specialized surgical skills.
Parathyroid glands were discovered in the Indian Rhinoceros by Sir Richard Owen in 1850. The glands are usually four in number and lie behind the thyroid gland in the lower neck. A normal parathyroid gland weighs 30mg to 60mg. In parathyroid disease (hyperparathyroidism) the glands can increase hundreds of times in size.
Parathyroid glands are essential in maintaining the calcium levels in the blood within a very narrow range. This is essential for the function of nerves and muscles.
Parathyroid disease is very rarely due to cancer but still can cause significant clinical problems. In the past, this illness was described as bones, stones, groans and psychic moans.
Today this illness is predominantly found early, usually by a high calcium reading on routine blood investigations performed by your GP. Even if you notice no symptoms, it’s best to have a proper workup. Surgery will prevent major problems from occurring in the future.
Future problems can include osteoporosis, kidney stones, stomach ulcers and gastro-oesophageal reflux. Parathyroid disease has been linked to diabetes, depression, memory loss, difficulty in concentration, high blood pressure and even gallstone disease.
To determine if you have parathyroid disease, we will need to conduct further blood and urine tests. We then perform more tests to localize which gland is causing hyperthyroidism.. Sometimes all four glands may need surgical attention.
Dr Niles specializes in minimally invasive parathyroid resection. This involves a very small incision and targeted treatment to the gland causing the trouble. Dr Navin Niles uses high-level anatomical imaging, which is only available through a 4Dimensional CT scan. Using this technology maximises his patient’s eligibility for minimal access surgery.