Humans have four parathyroid glands, that are located near or on the back of the thyroid gland. The parathyroid glands produce parathyroid hormone (PTH), which is the hormone responsible for controlling the levels of calcium in the body. A parathyroid adenoma is a benign tumor growth on one or more of the parathyroid glands which causes an increase in PTH production. This, in turn, leads to increased levels of calcium in the blood, which is known as hypercalcemia.
The vast majority of hyperparathyroid patients (85%) will have only one parathyroid adenoma, while the other three glands remain completely normal. In less common cases, patients can present with a parathyroid adenoma on 2, 3, or even all 4 of the parathyroid glands. Less than 1% of patients will have a cancerous tumor on their parathyroid gland.
Cause of Parathyroid Adenoma
100,000 new cases of parathyroid disease are diagnosed every year. Parathyroid adenomas are most common among females over the age of 60. In most cases, it is unknown what exactly causes a parathyroid gland to develop a tumor. However, some people are genetically predisposed to develop a parathyroid adenoma. Others may develop a tumor as a result of excessive radiation exposure.
Symptoms of Parathyroid Adenoma
Hyperparathyroidism is a very unique disease in that it affects every patient in a different way. There are several symptoms resulting from a parathyroid adenoma tumor, many of which resemble other conditions or medical problems, simply because they are common problems. Symptoms of parathyroid tumor includes aches and pains in the bones, kidney problems, abdominal pain, depression, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, excessive urination, and muscle weakness. As a result of this large list of potential symptoms, hyperparathyroidism can be very difficult for an inexperienced physician to diagnose.
Learn more about the symptoms of hyperparathyroidism.
Treatment for Parathyroid Adenoma
Once Dr. Larian has confirmed that you have hyperparathyroid disease, the only treatment is to surgically remove the parathyriod adenoma(s). Dr. Larian will perform a customized 4 gland parathyroid assessment to locate the parathyroid adenoma(s) before surgery, if possible, so that he can perform a focused and precise minimally invasive parathyroidectomy.
Dr. Larian will make a very small incision, resulting in minimal trauma to surrounding tissues and a much shorter recovery period. This is especially true in cases of parathyroid adenoma, where the adenoma has been located through studies like Sestamibi and ultrasound. By using rapid intra-operative PTH testing we confirm the success of surgery and an appropriate drop in the PTH level in the operating room. Due to the ease of this procedure, in most cases it can be done under loco-regional anesthesia.