Endocrine Surgery Treatments

The endocrine surgeons at MedStar Washington Hospital Center perform hundreds of procedures each year to treat a variety of endocrine problems.

They are especially skilled in the most advanced, less invasive surgical techniques that result in fewer complications, faster recovery and smaller scars.

  • Laparoscopic (Minimally Invasive) Adrenalectomy

Minimally invasive adrenalectomy is the removal of adrenal tumors through small incisions in the back. This method eliminates damage to surrounding organs that can result in open abdominal surgery that requires a large incision.

These less invasive procedures are used to treat a number of adrenal tumors, including inherited tumors such as pheochromocytomas, tumors causing Cushing’s and Conn’s syndrome, primary cancers that begin in the adrenal gland, and cancers that have spread from another organ.

During this procedure, surgeons place a small, lighted camera on a scope into the patient’s back through a small “port” (incision). This allows the surgeon to view and access the adrenal glands. Small surgical tools are used to remove the tumor, or when necessary, remove a portion of the gland.

  • Minimally Invasive (Focused) Parathyroidectomy

In this technique, surgery is performed through a 1-2 cm incision while the patient is usually under anesthesia. Local anesthesia is used as well, so that the patient often wakes up with little – or even no – pain at the site of the incision. The surgeons identify the abnormal appearing parathyroid gland(s) and remove them, then use measurement of the intraoperative parathyroid hormone along with pathology to determine cure. The patients usually go home within a few hours of surgery and may return to their lives with little recovery time.

  • Minimally Invasive Thyroidectomy

Today nearly all thyroid operations at MedStar Washington Hospital Center are performed using minimally invasive methods. In this procedure, surgeons make a small incision and use specially designed instruments to perform the operation.

 Often, a miniaturized instrument called a harmonic scalpel is inserted into the incision to cut and remove either half or the entire thyroid gland.  This scalpel uses ultrasonic energy to gently and precisely cut tissue and to seal off blood vessels. It allows the surgeon to push other organs aside rather than cut them in order to reach the thyroid. This technique reduces blood loss, speeds recovery—and leaves a small scar.

  • Neck Dissection Surgery for Thyroid Cancer

 Neck dissection is a surgical procedure for the treatment of thyroid cancer that has spread (metastasized) to lymph nodes in the neck. In this procedure, also called a lymphadenectomy, surgeons often will remove the thyroid gland, as well as lymph nodes—and fatty tissue—in the neck that contain or may contain cancer. 

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