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 skill.

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 to 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, stone, 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 is best to have a proper workup and sometimes surgery will prevent major problems occurring in the future. This may be osteoporosis, kidney stones, stomach ulcers and gastro-oesophageal reflux. This disease has been linked to diabetes, depression, memory loss, difficulty in concentration, high blood pressure and even gallstone disease.

Once parathyroid disease (hyperparathyroidism) is confirmed on further blood and urine tests, we will perform tests to localize which gland is causing the trouble. 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. He uses the high level anatomical imaging available only through 4Dimensional CT scan to maximize a patient’s eligibility for a minimal access surgery.