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Oct 30

Will I need to have someone drive and pick me up from my surgery?

After thyroid/parathyroid surgery, you will have a small incision on your neck. Although it is not very painful, there will be some underlying inflammation from the operation, which can slightly limit the range of motion in your neck. Dr. Kroeker asks that you do not drive for a week after surgery to ensure that your range of motion completely normalizes in order to be a good defensive driver.

Oct 25

Is parathyroid disease something that I need to take care of immediately, or can surgery wait until I have a larger opening in my schedule?

Very rarely is parathyroid surgery an emergency- occasionally a patient will come into the ER with a hypercalcemic crisis (extremely elevated calcium levels in their blood) secondary to hyperparathyroidism and will require hospital admission for IV fluids. This patient would likely benefit from having surgery very quickly. But most patients can schedule a parathyroidectomy when they have a week open in their schedule to recover from surgery. Dr. Kroeker does not advise procrastinating too long, as the effects of hyperparathyroidism can be very detrimental to your bones (osteoporosis), kidneys (kidney stones and renal failure), and heart (hypertension and calcifications of the coronary arteries). You will also likely want to start feeling good again! There are multiple symptoms of hypercalcemia- fatigue, memory loss, problems concentrating, insomnia, muscle aches, constipation, and abdominal pain.

Oct 24

Am I too old for parathyroid surgery? Isn’t it a little risky at my age?

Health is much more important than your age. Dr. Kroeker will assess your surgical risk during your visit with her. There are some patients in their 80s and 90s who are actually in better health with a lower surgical risk than some younger patients! Anyone with hyperparathyroidism should be evaluated for surgery, as a patient’s quality of life can immensely improve following the normalization of their high calcium levels.

Oct 23

How do I know if I have been cured of a parathyroid tumor or that it has been fully removed?

Intraoperatively, Dr. Kroeker will check parathyroid hormone (PTH) levels and will not stop surgical exploration until the PTH has dropped appropriately. She will also check your PTH and calcium level one week after surgery at your follow-up visit. From there, your endocrinologist or primary care physician will check a parathyroid hormone and calcium level at 6 months to ensure cure of hyperparathyroidism. The most important thing is to see the cure in the operating room with an appropriate drop in PTH after resection of the abnormal parathyroid gland or glands.