The parathyroid glands are located close to the thyroid gland and release hormones that control the levels of calcium and phosphorus in the blood. While rare, there are a few main conditions affecting these four glands in the base of the neck: hyperparathyroidism, hypoparathyroidism, and parathyroid cancer.
Hyperparathyroidism: The most common cause of this condition is adenomas, non-cancerous growths in the glands, and they typically occur in hyperplasia, where more than one parathyroid gland is involved.
Hypoparathyroidism: This rare condition can be caused by a lack of parathyroid glands or when the glands are less active than they should be. This can lead to seizures, heart arrhythmias, and more.
Parathyroid cancer: Overall, cancer accounts for less than 1% of parathyroid diagnoses.
St. Luke’s Health endocrinologists offer a variety of treatments for parathyroid conditions, ranging from medications to surgery. As one of 31 National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) Rare Disease Centers of Excellence, Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center offers patients high-quality, specialized care for the diagnosis and treatment of parathyroid conditions.
Advanced surgical treatments for parathyroid conditions
Our experts use the latest breakthroughs and innovations in the surgical treatment of endocrine disorders, including scarless parathyroid removal using the transoral vestibular approach (TOVA). Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center is currently the only center in Texas that performs this novel procedure.
You might have a parathyroidectomy if your workup shows elevated calcium due to a parathyroid adenoma or hyperplasia of the parathyroid glands. The studies for a workup include ultrasounds, labs, nuclear scans, and a 4D CT prior to parathyroidectomy. Patients should not take aspirin, Advil, or anticoagulants 10 days before parathyroidectomy. This surgery will be coordinated with your physician or cardiologist. You may also need a stress test or EKG.
On the day of surgery, you will arrive at St. Luke's Health and receive general anesthesia. This procedure may be done as inpatient or outpatient.
Follow-up includes a visit to your physician for the removal of sutures and drain if needed. Patients are not to exercise for two to three weeks, except for walking. Keep the incision site dry until your physician tells you it is acceptable to get it wet. Returning to work varies for each patient, but it typically is safe to go back about one week after the procedure.