Neck, Breast, and Chest

THYROID AND PARATHYROID GLANDS

The thyroid and parathyroid glands are part of the endocrine system, which creates hormones that help regulate many body functions. The thyroid is located in the front of the neck and may require surgery due to Graves’ disease, a toxic nodule, thyroid cancer, or allergies to thyroid medications. The parathyroid glands consist of four, small round tissue masses located behind the thyroid gland. Parathyroid surgery may be needed for non-cancerous tumors called adenomas, cancer, or an enlargement of one or all four of the parathyroid glands. For surgery on the thyroid or parathyroid glands, the surgeon makes a small incision at the base of the neck in the front. The incision can often be placed in a skin crease to make the scar less visible. An overnight stay in the hospital can be expected.

Breast Surgery

Mammograms and ultrasounds are used to identify breast lesions that are suspicious for cancer and that may require surgical removal. Surgical breast conditions can be non-cancerous, pre-cancerous, or a form of cancer. Usually, breast cancer surgery involves removal of the lesion and the surrounding healthy tissue from the breast (lumpectomy), and this is typically followed by radiation treatments to the remaining breast tissue. Sometimes a full mastectomy is necessary. Many breast cancer operations also require a biopsy of the lymph nodes nearest the breast, a process that involves a second incision in the axilla. Breast surgery is also performed on men for conditions such as gynecomastia or suspicion of cancer.

Bronchoscopy

A bronchoscopy is a procedure which uses a long, flexible tube with a camera to examine the inside of the airways and lungs.  After a breathing tube is inserted to protect the airway, the bronchoscope can be used to take biopsies of a lung mass, remove blockages of the airways, or collect cells by washing the airway surface with a mild salt solution.  It is also used to look for infection, investigate reasons for coughing up blood, and to help in the treatment of pneumonia.

Mediastinoscopy

A mediastinoscopy is a surgical procedure to look at the area between the lungs (mediastinum) for abnormalities. It is most often used for staging lung cancer. However it can also be used to find infection or inflammation. It involves inserting a lighted, flexible tube with a tiny camera through an incision at the top of the breastbone into the area between the two lungs. Biopsies can then be gathered from the surrounding tissue and lymph nodes. Mediastinoscopy is usually done as an outpatient procedure.

VIDEO ASSISTED THORACOSCOPIC SURGERY (VATS)

Thoracoscopy can be viewed as a laparoscopic surgery for the chest. It is a surgical technique that involves inserting a tiny camera and other surgical instruments into the chest through 3 small incisions. VATS can be used to treat early stage lung cancer, take lung biopsies, remove blebs (air blisters), wash out infected portions of the lung, and manage spontaneous lung collapse. It typically has fewer complications and a shorter hospital stay than a thoracotomy.

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