The parathyroid glands located in the neck are tiny, about the size of a grain of rice, and yet they have a big responsibility. They produce a hormone designed to regulate the balance of calcium necessary to support a host of functions, including blood pressure and clotting, strong bones and teeth, healthy brain function, muscle contraction, insulin utility and much more.
Because proper calcium levels contribute so heavily to overall health and bodily function, problems with the parathyroid gland can lead to a variety of problems. Hyperparathyroidism, whether primary, secondary or caused by a benign tumor called a parathyroid adenoma, is over-activity of the parathyroid gland(s), which causes an excess of parathyroid hormone to be released into the bloodstream, resulting in too much calcium in the system. This condition may produce no symptoms or a host of them, including kidney stones, frequent urination, exhaustion, depression, forgetfulness, joint/bone pain and, ironically, osteoporosis. For many patients, hyperparathyroidism may manifest itself as an overall feeling of being unwell with no obvious cause.
The Board Certified radiologists of RAO are proud to utilize the latest advance in early parathyroid disease detection, the Parathyroid 4D-CT, a specialized four-dimensional imaging system that can discover abnormal parathyroid glands and tumors earlier and smaller than ever before. Performed with or without iodine-based intravenous contrast dye, 4D-CT goes beyond 3D imaging to include multiple phases, adding time elapse as another dimension in discovery, for amazing clarity of the parathyroid glands and any lesions, abnormal positioning and other irregularities.
Parathyroid 4D-CT is particularly useful in cases where surgery, thyroid disease or anatomical issues have rendered less detailed imaging systems, like ultrasound and sestamibi, incapable of discovering abnormalities, resulting in negative readings. In fact, 4D-CT can prevent the need for invasive exploratory surgery as well as assist in the planning of necessary surgeries, including re-operations of patients who have been designated ineligible for further surgical treatment, providing for many a new possibility of a cure.
RAO’s team of subspecializing radiologists read all imaging results in-house, to provide faster, more accurate analyses. The scan itself takes only minutes, but with prep and contrast phases the appointment may last an hour or more. In most cases, 4D-CT is covered by insurance. Patients with mild to moderate kidney disease may still be eligible for this scan.
If you have unresolved parathyroid disease or unexplained symptoms that may be related to it, talk to your doctor or call RAO for more information about how we may be able to help in your diagnosis and treatment.