Did I Need To Have Parathyroid Surgery To Cure My Hyperparathyroidism?

Yes, But for 16 Years, The Surgical Procedure Was The Real Question On My Mind !


Parathyroid Surgery, was the nagging question I had on my mind for 16 years. Day in and Day out all I thought about was that. Do I have to have this surgery in the manner in which the doctors wanted to perform it to cure my hyperparathyroidism?

Initially in 1989, when the doctor said I had to have surgery, there was no such thing as minimally invasive surgery, let alone mini parathyroid surgery?

My dilemma was, although I knew I needed the surgery, every fiber in my being was telling me the surgical procedure the doctors wanted to perform was not good for my over-all health and wellness because this surgery in 1989 was quite long and extensive and the surgical cut they would have to make in my neck was quite large. A cut that would extend almost the entire length of my neck and it would leave me with a permanent scar for the rest of my life as well as a high probability of serious complications when it was all over and done with. Whereas, today surgical methods are very short with minimal to no complications.

For example, when I first found out about the surgery to be performed I was so frightened that I consulted 4 different doctors. Unfortunately, the test results were always the same, my parathyroid hormone (PTH) levels were too high. I definitely had hyperparathyroidism and needed parathyroid surgery to correct it.

Each doctor had me take x-rays of my neck, MRI’s, sonograms and blood tests; and after the x-rays were taken none of the doctors found any adenoma (swelling) in my parathyroid glands; BUT since my PTH levels were too high I had to have a hyperactive parathyroid gland or parathyroid glands somewhere so that meant they had to perform surgery by cutting my neck open to go in and explore, that’s right E-X-P-L-O-R-E to find the hyper-active parathyroid gland(s) and remove it or them.

The doctors explained they may have to look in my chest area if the hyperactive parathyroid gland(s) were not located behind my thyroid gland in order to find the hyper active parathyroid gland(s) (some people have parathyroid glands located in their chest as well as the 4 located behind the thyroid gland) and they would not know if they needed to explore my chest area until they went in to do the surgery behind my thyroid gland and if there was no adenoma there, then they would have to look for it in my chest area. They explained the surgery could possibly take up to 4 or 5 hours.

If you think that’s bad, I also had stones in each kidney too! There were 3 in the left kidney and 4 in my right kidney; so they thought there was a possibility I could have a kidney stone attack on the operating table, so they would need to perform surgery on my kidneys the same day as the parathyroid surgery. This is where my gut instincts kicked in big time and told me: HOLD ON, WAIT-A-MINUTE! This is not a good thing for me to undergo surgery like this!

The doctors told me the kidney stone surgery would entail cutting me from my navel all the way around to my left kidney to go in and get the kidney stones out. OK People, this is the only body I have and like I said earlier, my gut said NO, this isn’t the kind of surgery you need to have. So I'm thinking, my 

life is on the line here. I LOVE MYSELF and I LOVE MY DAUGHTER, she needs me here to take care of her; she needs her mother! Case closed! So even though the doctors were strongly recommending that I have these surgeries, I paid attention to my gut feelings and said Thank You, but NO THANK YOU! I’m not having either of these surgeries! I thought, THERE HAS TO BE A BETTER WAY.

After the 4th consultation and after listening to what the doctors said had to happen, I cried a bit, then, I wiped my eyes and started reading everything I could get my hands on about hyperparathyroidism and kidney stones. I was determined I was going to do to get rid of my kidney stones on my own and what could I do to prevent them from forming again and I also tried to figure out if I could get rid of the hyperparathyroidism symptoms as well. I knew I needed to change my diet too so I started by finding out if there was any food I was eating that could be a cause of kidney stones.

Parathyroid surgery also called Parathyroidectomy is a very serious surgery to undergo. First off, your parathyroid glands are located behind the thyroid glands but they are also located very close to your voice box. You need a Surgeon who is highly skilled in this kind of surgery so there is no harm done to your voice box during the surgery. There are very few doctors out there that are highly skilled in parathyroid surgery. Many doctors don’t do parathyroid surgery but will perform the surgery if need be. However, you need to make sure whomever you choose to do the surgery knows what (s)he is doing.

After all of the research I did for 16 years and finding next to nothing about hyperparathyroidism, I finally found a website with substantial information about it and parathyroid surgery.

Although I was not able to have Dr. Norman of the Norman Parathyroid Center in Tampa, Florida perform my parathyroid surgery, I am telling you about him because it was his website http://www.parathyroid.com that I finally found real reliable solid information regarding hyperparathyroidism and parathyroid surgery which made sense to me.

It was because of Dr. Norman’s website that I found out about minimally invasive radio guided parathyroid surgery or mini parathyroid surgery. Just take a look at his live mini parathyroid surgery below and you’ll see what I mean.

I searched from 1989 until 2005 looking for a skilled parathyroid surgeon and because of Dr. Norman’s work I finally knew what to look for in order to have my own parathyroid surgery done. I was so happy and so relieved because now I knew what kind of surgery to ask for "Minimally Invasive Parathyroid Surgery".

Now I felt ready because I was equipped with this knowledge and began calling different surgeons where I lived and asking them about minimally invasive surgery. This is the kind of surgery I felt was best for my overall health and wellness. The thing is, there were NO surgeons in the New York Metropolitan Area at that time performed this kind of surgery. At that time, everyone I asked had never heard of it. Still today in 2011 there are only a few surgeons who know about minimally invasive surgery and those that do know about it perform it a bit different from Dr. Norman. Dr. Norman only does parathyroid surgery, nothing else, just that, and he's been doing it for years and he's helped people from all over the world.

I am so grateful for Dr. Norman’s work even though he does not know me. I just feel compelled to share with you what I found out about him so you can see what he does and decide for yourself with confidence what you want to do to cure your own hyperparathyroidism.

After watching his video check out Dr. Norman’s website http://www.parathyroid.com, you will be glad you did because you will know what questions to ask your surgeon before you have your surgery.

I really wanted Dr. Norman to perform my surgery but I just couldn’t get to his clinic; however, it took me 5 more years to find a surgeon who performs a similar surgery. His method is a little different than Dr. Norman’s but he is highly skilled in his ear, nose and throat practice and he came highly recommended by my endocrinologist whom I also was very pleased with and I think deserves mention here, her name is Dr. Natalia Anchipolovosky located in Hackensack, NJ. You also need to have a very good endocrinologist when you have hyperparathyroidism too.

Anyway, the doctor who I allowed to perform my parathyroid surgery is Dr. Sherif A. Hassan located in Rutherford, NJ. He practices Otolaryngology and he really knows what he's doing. He performed minimally invasive parathyroid surgery on me in June 2010. There’s NO scar, my neck looks exactly like it did before I had the surgery. I can't see where the incision was made and no harm was done to my voice box. My voice sounds exactly the same now as it did before I had the surgery. The operation was less than one hour too! Oh, by-the-way today is December 30, 2011.

This is not a recommendation for any of these doctors, I'm just telling you who I used for my surgery and who my endocrinologist is because I am very satisfied with their work and I am very grateful to both of them as well as Dr. Norman for it. You must be confident when you're ready to lye down on the operating table, you shouldn't have any kind of surgery if you are apprehensive about it.

Dr. Hassan does not perform minimally invasive radio guided surgery like Dr. Norman does but he does do minimally invasive surgery in the neck area and he is highly skilled at what he does so I think he deserves to be mentioned here as well.

Are There Symptoms After Parathyroid Surgery?

Although my surgery was very successful, I do have some post surgery symptoms that I will discuss on another page, for more information on that please click here post surgery symptoms.

Good Luck to you! I hope you find an excellent surgeon as I was so blessed to find!

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Ochsner Hospital, New Orleans, Louisiana  Not rated yet
I had my surgery 8 years ago. I had a very long journey to find out what was wrong with me. As a female, many doctors brushed it off as chronic …

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