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Endocrine Surgery Program (Thyroid, Parathyroid and Adrenal)

The Mass General Endocrine Surgery Program (Thyroid, Parathyroid, and Adrenal) is a comprehensive program that provides state-of-the-art treatment for diseases of the thyroid, parathyroid and adrenal glands, including thyroid cancer.

First row, left to right: Richard Hodin, MD; Roy Phitayakorn, MD; Carrie Lubitz, MD; Randall Gaz, MD. Second row, left to right: Antonia Stephen, MD; Gregory Randolph, MD; Sareh Parangi, MD.

The Endocrine Surgery Program, part of the Center for Endocrine Tumors within the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, provides state-of-the-art treatment for diseases of the thyroid, parathyroid and adrenal glands. Our surgeons conduct a high volume of endocrine procedures and research has shown that outcomes improve when patients are treated in high-volume facilities.

Each patient's treatment plan is developed and managed by a multidisciplinary team of experts from the Center for Endocrine Tumors, as well as Mass General’s Division of Endocrinology. We bring together the expertise of endocrinologists, surgeons, radiologists and pathologists in the management of patients with both benign and malignant thyroid conditions.

Learn more about multidisciplinary care for:

What to Expect

Making an Appointment

We are able to schedule new patient appointments quickly, typically within one week. Before your first appointment, please confirm with your health insurance company whether you need to obtain a referral from your primary care physician.

Locations

We provide services near your home:

Mass General/North Shore Center for Outpatient Care
102 Endicott Street
Danvers, MA 01923

Primary surgeon: Carrie Lubitz, MD, MPH


Newton-Wellesley Hospital

2014 Washington Street
Newton, MA 02462

Primary surgeon: Antonia Stephen, MD

The Patient Experience

At your first appointment, you will meet with one of our surgeons, who will tailor a personalized treatment program for you. We may perform a biopsy. We then collaborate with Mass General's Endocrine Unit to analyze the results. Having access to these highly skilled specialists helps us to make fast, accurate diagnoses.

We are typically able to schedule patients for surgery very quickly. No matter what the procedure, we employ the latest technology and techniques to make small incisions and minimize visible scarring. We aim to return you to normal physical and work activity as soon as possible.

Types of Endocrine Surgery

Surgery for Thyroid Diseases

Our surgeons have extensive experience in all aspects of thyroid care, from assessment of thyroid nodules, thyroid biopsies and basic thyroid surgeries to surgeries involving hereditary, recurrent and/or aggressive forms of thyroid cancer. Among the more common procedures we perform are:

  • Thyroid lobectomy: Removal of one lobe of the thyroid and the isthmus
  • Total thyroidectomy: Removal of the entire thyroid gland
  • Lymph node excision: Removal of nearby lymph nodes

Surgery for Parathyroid Diseases

Hyperparathyroidism is the principal parathyroid condition that requires surgery. In many patients, a simple parathyroidectomy (removal of the parathyroid) performed using a minimally invasive technique can cure the problem of excess hormone production and its resultant hypercalcemia (elevated calcium levels in the blood). Our surgeons are also highly experienced in the evaluation and management of more complex parathyroid conditions, such as familial, recurrent or multi-gland diseases.

Surgery for Adrenal Diseases

We have seen an increase in the number of adrenal tumor diagnoses, and specialized expertise is needed in tumor imaging, evaluation and treatment. Our surgeons routinely perform laparoscopic adrenalectomy, a minimally invasive approach for the removal of an adrenal gland.

Recommended Websites

Research and Clinical Trials

According to the journals Cancer and the Journal of the American Medical Association, the incidence of thyroid cancer of all sizes has increased in both men and women over the last few decades. Research into endocrine diseases may lead to promising therapies. All surgeons, radiologists and endocrinologists treating endocrine conditions at Mass General participate in research into the endocrine system, with collaborative studies involving surgery, medical endocrinology, radiology and pathology.

Our research focuses on innovation and outcomes, and leverages our institutional experience.


Innovation

  • Identifying predictors of follicular thyroid cancers (elastography) using ultrasound
  • Use of enhanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to detect lymph node metastasis in patients with thyroid cancer
  • The development of an ultrasound-guided thyroid fine needle aspiration (FNA) simulator to increase the accuracy of biopsy results
  • Improving FNA technology
  • Development of new Thyroglobulin lab testing to learn the effects of the thyroglobulin on thyroid disease


Outcomes

  • Developing a risk rule to predict the recurrence of thyroid cancer based on medical and family history  
  • Comparing methods of screening patients for surgery to correct primary aldosteronism, one of the causes of hypertension
  • Assessing the effectiveness of using whole body scans on thyroid cancer patients before beginning treatment


The Mass General Endocrine Surgery Program has experience with complex issues in endocrine treatment, including:

  • Safety when operating on Graves' (hyperthyroidism) patients
  • Use of phenoxybenzamine to treat hypertension before pheochromocytoma (adrenal gland mass) surgery
  • Thyrotoxicosis (hyperthyroidism) from Amiodarone, a drug to treat heart arrhythmias
  • The Hobnail variant, a new, aggressive subtype of papillary thyroid carcinoma
  • Different anesthetics during surgery to stabilize patients with pheochromocytoma
  • Hyperparathyroidism due to the use of lithium

Additionally, the Center for Endocrine Tumors conducts clinical trials for patients with advanced endocrine cancers. Ongoing clinical studies that may benefit patients with endocrine tumors include research into:

  • The development of a prospective surgical database for all endocrine tumors
  • The establishment of tissue banking protocols and database

We are also one of a select few endocrine surgery programs in the United States to host basic science research. Through one such initiative, we are studying molecules in cancer cells that may promote the spread of thyroid cancer. Our laboratory for thyroid cancer research aims to develop targeted therapies through an understanding of the molecular genetics of thyroid cancer. Our research and training is supported by a number of institutional and federal grants. We continue to present our work in national forums and recent publications.

Education

The Endocrine Surgery Division is dedicated to educating trainees as well as the community. Mass General accepts one endocrine surgery fellow per year. The Endocrine Surgery Fellowship program is dedicated to developing independent, skilled surgeons with a wide range of academic interests.

Our annual Fall CME course, "Surgery of the Thyroid and Parathyroid Glands," is attended by surgeons and endocrinologists from around the world.

Meet our current and past fellows

Hashimotos Thyroiditis

Thyroiditis is the inflammation of the thyroid gland. Hashimoto's thyroiditis is the most common form of thyroiditis.

Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism means overactivity of the thyroid gland, resulting in too much thyroid hormone in the bloodstream.

Hypoparathyroidism

Underactive parathyroid glands do not produce enough parathyroid hormones. This causes low levels of calcium in the blood.

Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is the condition in which the thyroid is underactive (i.e., it is producing an insufficient amount of thyroid hormones).

Primary Hyperparathyroidism

Primary hyperparathyroidism is a metabolic disorder in which one (or more) of the parathyroid glands produces too much parathyroid hormone, which can result in the loss of bone tissue.

Thyroid Tumors

Thyroid tumors are either benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous) growths.

Thyroid Surgery frequently asked questions (PDF)

Information for patients and families about the thyroid gland and thyroid surgery.

Thyroid Nodule Program frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions on thyroid nodules and goiters, including causes, diagnosis and treatment options.

Parathyroid surgery frequently asked questions (PDF)

Information for patients and families about the parathyroid gland and parathyroid surgery.

Adrenalectomy postoperative care instructions (PDF)

Postoperative discharge instructions for patients undergoing an adrenalectomy (removal of an adrenal gland).

Parathyroidectomy postoperative care instructions (PDF)

Postoperative discharge instructions for patients undergoing a parathyroidectomy (removal of the parathyroid).

Partial thyroidectomy postoperative care instructions (PDF)

Postoperative discharge instructions for patients undergoing a partial thyroidectomy (removal of the part of the thyroid).

Total thyroidectomy postoperative care instructions (PDF)

Postoperative discharge instructions for patients undergoing total thyroidectomy (complete removal of thyroid).

American Association of Endocrine Surgeons

A patient education website with accurate information on diseases of the thyroid gland, parathyroid glands, adrenal glands and neuroendocrine system.

Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results Program

Information, facts and statistics on thyroid cancer from the National Cancer Institute.

The following related clinical trials and research studies are currently seeking participants at Massachusetts General Hospital. Search for clinical trials and studies in another area of interest.

Surgery of the Thyroid and Parathyroid Glands

The Department of Otolaryngology at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and the Department of Surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital present “Surgery of the Thyroid and Parathyroid Glands.” This CME reviews surgical techniques, molecular genetic analysis, and advances in treatment for diseases of the thyroid and parathyroid glands.

Thyroid Surgery frequently asked questions (PDF)

Information for patients and families about the thyroid gland and thyroid surgery.

Thyroid Nodule Program frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions on thyroid nodules and goiters, including causes, diagnosis and treatment options.

Parathyroid surgery frequently asked questions (PDF)

Information for patients and families about the parathyroid gland and parathyroid surgery.

Adrenalectomy postoperative care instructions (PDF)

Postoperative discharge instructions for patients undergoing an adrenalectomy (removal of an adrenal gland).

Parathyroidectomy postoperative care instructions (PDF)

Postoperative discharge instructions for patients undergoing a parathyroidectomy (removal of the parathyroid).

Partial thyroidectomy postoperative care instructions (PDF)

Postoperative discharge instructions for patients undergoing a partial thyroidectomy (removal of the part of the thyroid).

Total thyroidectomy postoperative care instructions (PDF)

Postoperative discharge instructions for patients undergoing total thyroidectomy (complete removal of thyroid).

American Association of Endocrine Surgeons

A patient education website with accurate information on diseases of the thyroid gland, parathyroid glands, adrenal glands and neuroendocrine system.

Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results Program

Information, facts and statistics on thyroid cancer from the National Cancer Institute.