Fixing Santa Claus' Hyperparathyroidism
“We just took care of Santa Claus for hyperparathyroidism,” says Dr. Masha Livhits, an endocrine surgeon at UCLA Health. “I really want to bring attention to this disease because it often takes patients a while to come to a diagnosis. Depending on where they live, in this case, North Pole, Alaska, there may not be a lot of expertise so someone may have high calcium for years because their physician doesn’t know the cause. High calcium contributes to osteoporosis, fractures and can lead to kidney stones.
We have a lot of patients who fly to us for this surgery from all over the world because we do a one-inch incision in the neck, surgery takes 30 minutes or so, and the patient has a fast recovery. We’re accommodating to the individual patient’s needs, so we moved Santa’s beard and didn’t do much shaving. Everyone’s story is unique, and it’s been exciting to hear about what life has been like for Santa Claus.”
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