The thyroid gland is one of the largest endocrine glands in the body and is located in the area of the neck as it lies directly over the trachea (wind pipe). The gland is butterfly shaped with a left lobe, right lobe and a connecting bridge called the isthmus. The gland produces thyroid hormone and the level of this hormone within the body may be normal (euthyroid), underactive (hypothyroid) or overactive (hyperthyroid). In many cases an overactive or underactive thyroid gland may be best managed with the use of medication. We will work in conjunction with family doctors and endocrinologists to help manage any abnormal conditions of the gland. In some cases surgical therapy is required to help treat an abnormality. In the case of nodules within the gland or an enlarged gland, an FNA (fine needle aspiration) may be required to get tissue samples and help determine the best course of therapy. This procedure is easily completed in the office setting with the use of a local anesthetic.
Thyroglossal Duct Cyst
This is the most common congenital abnormality of the thyroid gland. It may present as a midline cyst in the neck which is visible when swallowing and may cause visible deformity, swallowing difficulty or it may become secondarily infected. Surgery to remove this is sometimes necessary.
A thyroid nodule may be benigh (non cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). A FNA may be required to help determine if further therapy is needed.
An enlarged thyroid gland which can cause swallowing difficulty and physical deformity may be associated with nodules and/or hormonal abnormalities. In some cases this may be managed with radioactive iodine ablation and in others is may require surgical removal.
The two most common procedures are thyroid lobectomy (removal of one lob of the gland) or total thyroidectomy (removal of the entire thyroid gland). At ORL we offer extensive experience in the surgical management of the thyroid gland for both pediatric and adult patients. Dr. Wakstein and Dr. Holender have one of the largest surgical thyroid practices in the Lehigh Valley and they have unmatched surgical experience in the area of thyroid surgery. We operate at a number of hospitals in the area. The surgical procedures may be completed as an out-patient or may require an overnight stay depending on the type of surgery recommended. In all cases they utilize a nerve monditoring device to help protect the nere that controls the vocal cord. The goal of every surgery is to eradicate the disease, prevent any unwarranted complications and to ensure an excellent cosmetic outcome.
There are usually four parathyroid glands although a patient may have as few as three glands and as many as six glands. The function of the parathyroid glands are to regulate the calcium levels in our bodies. Many disorders of the parathyroid glands exist which can be both benign and malignant. The most common condition, treated surgically within our practice, is removal of a parathyroid adenoma (removal of a benign parathyroid tumor). Surgery is sometimes required to remove a single gland or subtotal removal of all the glands. At ORL, we are experienced minimally invasive patathyroid surgeons. The glands are usually located in direct proximity to the thyroid gland itself. In many cases we are able to determine the exact location of the gland(s) prior to the surgical procedure. This allows us to quickly remove the diseased tissue and send patients home on the same day.