The parathyroids are four small glands located behind the thyroid gland. They are involved with helping the body to regulate calcium levels in the bloodstream. If calcium levels fall, parathyroid hormone is released, which increases calcium levels by increasing calcium absorption from the gut, decreasing calcium excretion from the kidneys and mobilising calcium stores in bone.
If one or more parathyroid glands becomes overactive, calcium levels in the blood rise, a condition known as hyperparathyroidism. This can lead to a number of serious conditions, such as osteoporosis, bone fractures and painful kidney stones. Other symptoms of hyperparathyroidism include fatigue, weakness, depression and abdominal pain. A simple blood test for parathyroid hormone levels and calcium levels can help screen for hyperparathyroidism, before symptoms arise.
Treatment for hyperparathyroidism usually involves surgery to remove the overactive parathyroid gland. Traditionally, this has involved exploratory surgery to identify all four parathyroid glands. More recently, imaging tests have been used to determine which parathyroid gland is abnormal prior to surgery. These tests include ultrasounds, nuclear medicine scans specific for parathyroid disease and CT scans utilising the latest technology (“4D” CT scans). If the abnormal parathyroid gland can be identified prior to surgery, a more focussed approach can be used, involving smaller incisions and less invasive surgery.
Suren has completed extensive specialist training for surgery of the parathyroid glands, including newer minimally-invasive techniques. He also regularly performs advanced parathyroid surgery for patients with hyperparathyroidism due to kidney disease. He is happy to arrange any investigations necessary and discuss safe and appropriate surgical options.