Minimally invasive endocrine surgery is commonly used to treat diseases that are found in the thyroid, parathyroid, and adrenal systems. The type of surgery or treatment that is needed depends on the patient’s condition, and which part of the endocrine system is being targeted by the condition. Some of these conditions that can be treated include:

Symptoms seen with these conditions put the patient in a lot of discomfort and can be potentially dangerous. Symptoms vary but may include: weight gain, menstrual irregularities, sweating, high blood pressure, diabetes, and cancer. 

Minimally invasive surgeries use techniques that allow a shortened hospital stay for patients, as well as less pain and complications that can accompany open surgery. The risk of scarring, blood loss and infection are all lessened with the techniques used for minimally invasive procedures. These benefits allow patients to continue their daily routine and other activities much faster than traditional surgery.

What Are the Types of Minimally Invasive Endocrine Surgeries?

What is Minimally Invasive Adrenal Surgery?

Minimally invasive adrenal surgery is needed for cases calling for partial adrenalectomy (which removes tumors from the adrenal gland) or cases that require an adrenalectomy, where the entire adrenal gland is removed. Both of these will allow doctors to use a minimally invasive laparoscopy; this is an instrument that enters through the abdominal wall and allows doctors to view the organ without an open surgery.

The procedure chosen will depend on the size and type of tumor, or what other condition (i.e. infection, autoimmune disorder) is affecting the adrenal gland.

Our adrenal glands sit just above the kidneys and are responsible for the hormones that regulate blood pressure, blood sugar, our immune system, metabolism, and more. So when tumors are generated by abnormal cells in this area, the adrenal glands produce these helpful hormones at irregular rates. Because of this, when tumors lead to adrenal cancer, patients will experience complications in these areas. They include:

  • High blood pressure
  • High blood sugar
  • Weight gain
  • Depression
  • And other symptoms that can be crippling

Minimally invasive adrenal surgeries yield very positive results and allow for tumors to be removed with a 95% success rate.

What is Mini-Incision Parathyroid Surgery?

A mini-incision parathyroid surgery involves the removal of one or several parathyroid glands through a small incision in the neck. The small incision has proven to have faster healing results and less scarring.

This surgery is to prevent parathyroid disease after one or more of the parathyroid glands develops cancer or malfunctions. Parathyroid disease can lead to complications such as:

  • Osteoporosis
  • Kidney stones
  • Heart disease
  • Other symptoms that are nonspecific and may seem unrelated to parathyroids

We have four parathyroid glands; these are tiny glands that are located in the neck, behind the thyroid. When functioning properly, they regulate the body’s calcium levels in our blood and bones. Calcium levels are crucial to ensure other organ functioning.

With mini-incision parathyroid surgery, the conditions caused by a cancer or malfunctioning of parathyroid can be corrected, and proper function can continue.

What is Mini-Incision Thyroid Surgery?

Minimally invasive thyroid surgery is when a thyroid lobectomy (the removal of one half of the thyroid) or full thyroidectomy (removal of the entire thyroid gland) is conducted through a small incision in the neck. 

This surgery is necessary after the thyroid malfunctions. Which leads to hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) or hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) and can lead to multiple problems:

  • Heart disease
  • Infertility
  • Joint pain
  • Obesity

Our thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located at the front of the neck, below the Adam’s apple. A thyroid has two lobes, on either side of our windpipe and produces hormones that regulate metabolic functions. The thyroid helps control multiple body systems, such as the heart, digestion, muscle and bone functions, and the brain.

With a mini-incision thyroid surgery, health can be restored along with quality of life, since the malfunctioning thyroid will no longer over- or under-regulate the previously mentioned body systems.

What Happens After Minimally Invasive Endocrine Surgery?

Thanks to the innovative techniques and technology used during a minimally invasive endocrine surgery, recovery time is less than the average recovery anticipated after open surgery.

Most patients are able to go home the same day after the procedure (1-2 hours). Unless informed otherwise by your doctor, you should be able to eat, drink, and talk the same day after surgery. While recovering, you may feel fatigue for 2-3 days while the anesthesia wears off, but you will be able to perform your regular activities. 

As far as scarring, most patients heal very well after surgery and have a small, residual scar by 6 months post-surgery.

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