Managing Your Thyroid Disorder
You deserve the best results. Start with the best care team.
At Henry Ford, our endocrinologists partner with expert thyroid and parathyroid surgeons in the department of otolaryngology – head and neck surgery, to offer you the most effective non-surgical, minimally invasive and advanced surgical options tailored to your individual needs.
In the 1970s, thyroid tissue sampling (thyroid needle biopsy) was a landmark medical study performed by Henry Ford endocrinologists and cytopathologists, and proved to be the most effective method of diagnosis without resorting to surgery. Today, it remains the standard for thyroid biopsy across Michigan and the U.S.
Henry Ford endocrinologists continue to specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of thyroid disorders. These conditions include high (hyperthyroidism) and low (hypothyroidism) thyroid activity, goiter, inflamed thyroid (thyroiditis), nodules and thyroid cancer.
Our team offers you expert diagnostic studies, advanced medical therapies, and a comprehensive and customized care approach with access to state-of-the-art nuclear medicine and the most experienced endocrine surgery team in Michigan for thyroid cancer.
Thyroid and Parathyroid Conditions and Treatments
Thyroid Conditions and Treatments
- Thyroid nodules: Also called thyroid adenomas, colloid nodules and nodular hyperplasia, nodules are small-sized growths that develop in the thyroid gland. These types of growths are very common – especially in women – and typically do not show any symptoms or require treatment. Our specialists do perform on-site biopsies of the thyroid nodules using ultrasound imaging to determine whether the nodules are cancerous, although cancerous nodules are rare. More advanced treatments may include medicine or surgery.
- Goiter: Goiter is an enlarged thyroid gland. There are many potential causes for goiter growth, including thyroid nodules or Graves’ disease. In early growth stages, goiters may be evident only during a physical examination by a doctor. As they enlarge, goiters may become more obvious, causing the neck to bulge or swell. Some goiters may need to be surgically removed if they begin to cause additional issues, such as breathing problems or difficulty swallowing.
- Thyroid Cancer: Thyroid cancer is a very curable cancer – 99 percent of patients with this type of cancer can be cured. Treatments include surgery, radioiodine treatments and thyroid hormone replacement medication.
- Hypothyroidism: Hypothyroidism is characterized by an underactive thyroid. This condition may produce symptoms of feeling cold all the time, muscle cramps and weight gain. Treatment with synthetic thyroid hormone helps to manage hypothyroidism.
- Hyperthyroidism: Hyperthyroidism is characterized by an overactive thyroid, and may cause symptoms of shakiness, heart palpitations, heat intolerance and weight loss. Treatments may include anti-thyroid medication or radioactive iodine to slow down the overactive thyroid. Graves’ Disease is one type of hyperthyroidism.
- Thyroiditis: There are many different types of thyroiditis, which is characterized by the inflammation of the thyroid. Patients with thyroiditis may demonstrate symptoms similar to hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. Treatment includes medications.
Parathyroid Disorders and Treatment
The four pea-sized glands (two on each side of the neck) that sit on the back of the thyroid are called the parathyroid glands. They work with the kidneys to help control calcium levels in our bodies. One or more of your parathyroid glands may begin to improperly function due to the following:
- Primary Hyperparathyroidism: In primary hyperparathyroidism, parathyroid glands produce too much parathyroid hormone, which causes calcium levels in the body to be too high. Surgery is the main course of treatment, and our parathyroid surgeons use a number of advanced technologies and minimally-invasive techniques to cure this condition. If not treated, primary hyperparathyroidism can cause kidney damage and weak bones (osteoporosis).
- Hyperparathyroidism due to Renal Failure: For patients on dialysis, maintaining normal calcium levels can be difficult. In some cases, this can lead to the parathyroid glands becoming overactive and producing large amounts of the parathyroid hormone. This condition can often be controlled with medications. In some cases, surgery may be needed.
- Tertiary Hyperparathyroidism: Tertiary hyperparathyroidism is a rare condition that may occur in patients after a kidney transplant if the parathyroid glands continue to be hyperactive. In these instances, surgery may be required to remove one or more of these glands.