To properly diagnose hyperparathyroidism (HPT), the anatomy of the throat and neck is evaluated. Now, let’s look at some of the throat and neck structures linked to HPT, how they work, and their impact on the body.

Throat and Neck Anatomy: What You Need to Know

Anatomy of Throat and Neck

The throat and neck anatomy consists of various structures, including:

1. Jugular Veins

There are four primary jugular veins: two internal and two external. Jugular veins drain blood from the neck, face, and brain and return it to the heart.  The internal jugular veins are deep in the neck and the external jugular veins are immediately under the skin.

2. Vagus Nerves

Vagus nerves are connected to the heart, and digestive tract. They regulate digestion, heart rate, and other internal organ functions.

3. Carotid Arteries

Carotid arteries allow blood to travel to the neck, face, and brain. There are carotid arteries on each side of the neck. Those who place their hand on either side below the jaw line on the neck can feel the pulse of their carotid arteries.

4. Larynx (Voice Box)

The larynx is the area above the breathing tube houses the vocal cords that not only creates our voice, but even more importantly coordinates between breathing and swallowing.  The top part of the larynx projects outward and can be felt (Adam’s apple).

6. Recurrent Laryngeal Nerve (RLN)

RLN is a branch of the vagus nerve that controls the movement of the muscles of the voice box (larynx). It helps these muscles open and close and adjust the tension of the vocal cords.

7. Trachea

The trachea, sometimes called the windpipe, is the airway that connects the voice box to airways that lead to the lungs (bronchi).

8. Thymus Gland

The thymus gland is located behind the sternum (breastbone) and in front of the heart. It produces progenitor cells that eventually become T-cells that can destroy cancerous or infected cells. The thymus gland also supports immune system development during the early years of life.

9. Aorta

The aorta supplies oxygenated blood to the circulatory system. It is the body’s main artery.

10. Lymph Nodes

There are hundreds of lymph nodes in the body. The lymph nodes are glands that filter & examine the fluid in-between cells. They contain immune cells that monitor for infections & cancers and attack and destroy any such abnormality.

Along with an evaluation of the anatomy of the throat and neck, the anatomy of the thyroid and parathyroid glands is examined to determine if a patient is dealing with HPT.

A Closer Look at the Thyroid and Parathyroid Glands

The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland in the neck below the Adam’s apple. It produces hormones that regulate the body’s metabolism, temperature, and development.

Parathyroid glands are located behind the thyroid. Most people have four parathyroid glands, and these glands produce parathyroid hormone (PTH) that regulates calcium in the bloodstream.

Any disruption to the thyroid or parathyroid glands can impact their functioning. If a thyroid or parathyroid gland stops working as expected, people are susceptible to a wide range of physical and emotional symptoms. In these instances, people may be dealing with HPT.

Impact of Parathyroid Disease on the Throat and Neck Anatomy

Parathyroid disease can occur for several reasons, including:

  • Noncancerous growth on a parathyroid gland
  • Abnormal growth (hyperplasia) of parathyroid cells in a parathyroid gland
  • Cancerous tumor in a parathyroid gland

HPT occurs when one or more parathyroid glands produce an excess amount of PTH. In this instance, the body’s calcium level becomes unbalanced. The result: different structures of the neck and throat can stop functioning correctly.

The symptoms of HPT range in terms of severity. They can include:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Bone pain
  • Headaches
  • Poor sleep
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Muscle weakness

HPT symptoms replicate those of many medical conditions. As such, it can be difficult to diagnose HPT.

For those who believe they are dealing with HPT, meeting with Dr. Babak Larian of the CENTER for Advanced Parathyroid Surgery is key. Dr. Larian is a parathyroid disease expert and can conduct extensive testing to determine if HPT is causing a patient’s symptoms. If a patient is dealing with HPT, Dr. Larian can perform minimally invasive parathyroidectomy (MIP) surgery to address the issue.

Learn More About Parathyroid Gland Surgery

Dr. Larian offers an MIP that takes about 20 minutes to complete. The procedure has a high cure rate and low risk of complications.

People can meet with Dr. Larian to find out if they qualify for an MIP. For more information about parathyroid gland surgery, please contact us online or call us today at 310-461-0300 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Larian.

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