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How does a patient choose the right surgeon?

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It is important for you to know the right questions to ask at your visit with a surgeon. First and foremost, we believe the experience of the surgeon is directly related to the risks of thyroid and parathyroid operations. Please ask your surgeon how many thyroid and parathyroid surgeries they perform weekly. It is well known in surgery the higher number of thyroid and parathyroid surgeries done by a surgeon results in fewer complications, with usually 100 of these cases per year being a minimum needed to be considered “high-volume”.

Other questions to ask your surgeon

  • Ask your surgeon if they are sending thyroid biopsies for genetic testing! See our genetic section on the home page to find out why this is so important! This is the most important question to ask your surgeon!!! Also, please ask if they use numbing medicine during the biopsy as these can be uncomfortable with out it.  At MODTHYROID, we take the time to use local anesthesia or numbing medicine for the skin to make it as painless as possible.  If they do not take the time to use local anesthesia, we will!

  • Do they concentrate on only thyroid and parathyroid operations or do they spend time doing many other types of surgeries, such as abdominal cases, breast surgery, or bariatric operations?

  • It is also imperative to ask the surgeon how many complications from neck dissections for thyroid cancer surgeries that they have had in the past…ask about hematomas (bleeding in the neck after surgery), need for tracheostomy (breathing tube placed surgically after thyroid surgery), thoracic duct (lymph node injury which requires drains and multiple days in the hospital), nerve injuries (including the nerve innervating the lip), vocal cord injury. Take note if the surgeon tells you that you will likely be in the hospital for more than one night for thyroid surgery (even with a neck dissection)…this is a concern since patients that are doing very well after surgery can go home earlier. All of our patients go home within 24 hours of their operation! MODTHYROID has NOT had any of these complications! We are tracking our data, ask for this when you see a surgeon!

  • If a patient has thyroid cancer, ask the surgeon which lymph node levels they will be removing at the time of the cancer operation. There are actually 7 different levels of lymph nodes on each side of the neck, so that means 14 total in the entire neck.  It is important for your surgeon to know which levels on which side may need surgery and when it is appropriate to operate on them. This is big procedure, Dr. Brady still are able to minimize scarring by limiting the skin incision on the neck. 

  • Do they try to preserve as much of the thyroid gland as possible? The vast majority of thyroid cancers are not aggressive and only require partial or hemi-thyroidectomy. If your surgeon is recommending total thyroid removal, please get a second opinion from our team. This is NOT indicated in most patients, even with thyroid cancers.

  • How many thyroid and parathyroid surgeries do they do per week? per month? per year? It’s important to know that complication rates are directly related to surgical volume! MODTHYROID perform on average 10 thyroid and parathyroid cases per week, that is over several hundred per year!

  • Please find out how long you will be under anesthesia, this is extremely important as there are risks associated with prolonged general anesthesia. Since you will have 2 EXPERTS, our surgeries take less time, are less painful and have fewer complications. This is based on our data! The majority of our parathyroid cases are approximately 20-30 minutes and thyroid cases are approximately 60 minutes. Of note, complex thyroid neck dissections can take a couple of hours. 

  • How many years have they been specializing in and focusing on only endocrine surgery (thyroid and parathyroid)? Dr. Brady have been specialists in the field for over 15 years in Austin, Tx. 

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