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Thyroid & Parathyroid Disorders

Your thyroid gland is one of the endocrine glands that makes hormones to regulate physiological functions in your body, like metabolism. Other endocrine glands are the pancreas, the pituitary, the adrenal glands, and the parathyroid glands.

The thyroid gland is located in the middle of the lower neck, below the larynx (voice box) and wraps around the front half of the trachea (windpipe). It is shaped like a bow tie, just above the collarbones, having two halves (lobes) which are joined by a small tissue bar (isthmus.). You can't always feel a normal thyroid gland.

Diseases of the thyroid gland are very common, affecting millions of Americans. The most common thyroid problems are:

  • an overactive gland, called hyperthyroidism (e.g., Graves' disease, toxic adenoma or toxic nodular goiter)
  • an underactive gland, called hypothyroidism (e.g., Hashimoto's thyroiditis)
  • thyroid enlargement due to overactivity (as in Graves' disease) or from under-activity (as in hypothyroidism). An enlarged thyroid gland is often called a "goiter".

Depending on the nature of your condition, treatment may include the following:

Hypothyroidism treatment

  • thyroid hormone replacement pills

Hyperthyroidism treatment

  • medication to block the effects of excessive production of thyroid hormone
  • radioactive iodine to destroy the thyroid gland
  • surgical removal of the thyroid gland

Goiters (lumps)


 If you experience this condition, your doctor will propose a treatment plan based on the examination and your test results. He may recommend:

  • A fine needle aspiration biopsy - a safe, relatively painless procedure whereby a hypodermic needle is passed into the lump and tissue fluid samples containing cells are taken.
  • Thyroid surgery - an operation to remove part or all of the thyroid gland - may be required when the fine needle aspiration is reported as suspicious for or suggestive of cancer or when the trachea (windpipe) or esophagus are compressed because both lobes are very large.

Thyroid Cancer

The incidence of thyroid cancer is on the rise.  Fortunately the treatment is very successful.  Thyroid cancer is treated by surgically removing the thyroid gland.  We work closely with your endocrinologist who monitors your thyroid hormone function after surgery.

Otolaryngology Associates offers extensive experience in the surgical management of thyroid disorders. As head and neck surgeons, our physicians have unmatched experience in surgery of the neck. When it comes to both thyroid and parathyroid surgery, our surgeons are among the most experienced in the Northern Virginia area.


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