Explore This Program

About the Program

The Endocrine Surgery Program in Massachusetts General Hospital's Department of Surgery provides specialized treatment for diseases of the thyroid, parathyroid and adrenal glands. Our program is one of the largest in the nation, with seven specialists who perform a high volume of endocrine procedures. This specialization requires highly focused training in the diagnosis and treatment of endocrine diseases.

Virtual Visits & Telehealth

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Endocrine Surgery Program remains open and ready to provide the care you need for a thyroid, parathyroid or adrenal surgical issue. Our team is available to provide consultation and treatment through virtual visits, and we have ensured all of the necessary precautions for urgent in-person visits. For a virtual visit, the only equipment you will need is an iPad or home computer. If neither is available, visits can also be conducted over the telephone.

To attend your scheduled virtual visit, please connect through Patient Gateway or join the visit via the link sent from your provider's office. For more information on the Mass General TeleHealth offerings, please see the Mass General TeleHealth website or speak with our care coordinator at 617-643-7359.

Expert Care, Close to Home

Patients who live north of Boston have the option to receive surgical care for thyroid, parathyroid and adrenal conditions closer to home. Our community surgery team provides comprehensive, accessible surgical care to patients in Danvers and Salem, MA—two communities north of Boston.

Learn more about community surgery

Conditions We Treat

Our surgeons have extensive experience in all aspects of endocrine care, including assessing thyroid nodules, and performing thyroid biopsies and thyroid surgeries. We are also highly skilled in the evaluation and management of more complex thyroid, parathyroid and adrenal conditions, such as familial, recurrent or multi-gland diseases.

We perform high volumes of surgical procedures for a variety of conditions:

Thyroid Disorders
  • Thyroid cancers (including papillary, follicular, poorly differentiated, medullary, anaplastic, metastatic, recurrent and advanced thyroid cancers)
  • Hyperthyroidism (over-activity of the thyroid gland, resulting in too much thyroid hormone in the bloodstream, including Graves’ disease and toxic nodules)
  • Thyroid nodules (growths in the thyroid that can be benign or malignant—they may need to be removed if they are suspicious for malignancy or if they are causing compressive neck symptoms)
  • Thyroid goiter (a goiter is a generic term for an enlarged thyroid gland—depending on the size and cause of the overgrowth, it may require surgery)
Parathyroid Disorders
  • Hyperparathyroidism (over-activity of the parathyroid gland/s, resulting in elevated calcium levels in the blood)
  • Parathyroid tumors (growths of the parathyroid gland/s that are usually benign)
Adrenal Disorders
  • Functional adrenal tumors and nodules (tumors that do produce hormones and are sometimes benign, including Cushing’s disease, primary hyperaldosteronism, pheochromocytoma and sex-hormone-secreting tumors)
  • Nonfunctional adrenal tumors (tumors that do not produce hormones and are usually benign)

Our Procedures

Our surgeons perform a range of endocrine procedures, including:

  • Thyroid ultrasound and fine needle aspiration (including sending the cells for analysis by cytology and specialized molecular/gene expression profiling where indicated)
  • Thyroid lobectomy (removal of one lobe of the thyroid and the isthmus)
  • Total thyroidectomy (removal of the entire thyroid gland)
  • Parathyroidectomy (removal of the parathyroid, including four-gland explorations and minimally invasive parathyroidectomy)
  • Lymph node excision (removal of nearby lymph nodes)
  • Laparoscopic adrenalectomy (a minimally invasive approach for the removal of an adrenal gland)
  • Intraoperative nerve monitoring of the recurrent laryngeal nerves
  • Sistrunk procedure (removal of thyroglossal duct cysts)
  • Treatment of recurrent and advanced thyroid cancers

Patient Experience

At your first appointment, you will meet with one of our experienced surgeons who will create a personalized treatment plan for you and will continue to lead your care. As part of your assessment, we will review your medical history, symptoms, and any imaging and laboratory results. We may also perform an ultrasound and/or ultrasound-guided biopsy. Once a diagnosis has been confirmed, your surgeon will coordinate your care plan with the other members of your endocrine surgery care team.

If you require surgery, your procedure may be scheduled at one of several locations, including Mass General in Boston, Newton-Wellesley Hospital or Mass General North Shore Center for Outpatient Care in Danvers. We are typically able to schedule patients for surgery very quickly. For all procedures, we employ the latest technology and techniques.

Collaborative Approach to Care

Endocrine surgeons treat both benign and malignant tumors of the thyroid, parathyroid and adrenal glands. We are supported by a multidisciplinary team of physicians and are able to provide comprehensive care for a wide range of complex endocrine tumors. We bring together the expertise of endocrinologists, surgeons, medical oncologists, radiologists and pathologists in the management of endocrine surgery patients with benign and malignant tumors. Each patient’s condition is seen from all perspectives, providing a comprehensive assessment and treatment plan.

Please visit the Center for Endocrine Tumors in the Mass General Cancer Center, as well as Mass General’s Endocrine Unit

Seamless Access for Patients and Referring Physicians

We pair patients and their referring physician with an experienced care coordinator who helps assess patient needs and coordinates all necessary appointments and tests. Our goal is to schedule patient appointments within one to two weeks, depending on each patient’s situation. In order to expedite the scheduling process, we encourage patients to confirm coverage options with their health insurance company and/or obtain a referral from their primary care physician prior to their first visit. Patients and referring providers may call 617-643-7359 to speak with our care coordinator..

Innovative Research

The incidence of thyroid cancer is increasing, making research in this area and other endocrine disorders vital. We invest in research through our basic science laboratories, health services research programs, tissue bank, clinical endocrine database and ongoing clinical trials, encouraging collaborative research studies among surgeons, pathologists, oncologists and endocrinologists at Mass General. Our research focuses on innovation and outcomes, and leverages our institutional experience.

Investing in Future Leaders

We are committed to educating up-and-coming clinicians specializing in endocrine surgery. Our Endocrine Surgery Fellowship is dedicated to developing independent, skilled surgeons with a wide range of academic interests.

Our annual continuing medical education (CME) course, Surgery of the Thyroid and Parathyroid Glands, has been attended by surgeons and endocrinologists from around the world for nearly two decades.

Surgical Outcomes & Performance

The Center for Outcomes & Patient Safety in Surgery (COMPASS) ensures that surgical data is transparent and accessible for patients. Watch the video to view Mass General's performance for procedures to treat conditions of the adrenal, thyroid and parathyroid glands.

Additional Resources for Patients

Patients undergoing endocrine surgery at Mass General are welcome to use these resources in order to review answers to frequently asked questions, access important health information, and prepare for both the day of surgery and post-operative recovery.

FAQ icon
FAQs About Calcium Supplementation

FAQs About Calcium Supplementation

Read answers to questions about calcium supplementation in relation to endocrine surgery.

What to Expect: Hemi-thyroidectomy Surgery

What to Expect: Hemi-thyroidectomy Surgery

Learn what to expect when recovering from hemi-thyroidectomy surgery.

What to Expect: Parathyroid Surgery

What to Expect: Parathyroid Surgery

Learn what to expect when recovering from parathyroid surgery.

What to Expect: Total Thyroidectomy

What to Expect: Total Thyroidectomy

Learn what to expect when recovering from total thyroidectomy.

What to Expect: The Day of Endocrine Surgery

What to Expect: The Day of Endocrine Surgery

Learn what to expect when coming to Mass General for endocrine surgery.

Preparing for Thyroid Surgery

In this video, learn more about thyroid surgery and procedures, how to prepare for your surgery, the kind of questions you should ask your care team, and what to expect on the day of your operation.

American Association of Endocrine Surgeons

American Association of Endocrine Surgeons

View resources on endocrine surgery from the American Association of Endocrine Surgeons.

The Center for Endocrine Tumors

The Center for Endocrine Tumors

The Mass General Cancer Center treats benign & malignant endocrine tumors.

Thyroid Nodule Program

Thyroid Nodule Program

Read answers to frequently asked questions about thyroid nodules and goiters.