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Endocrine Expertise at the Thyroid and Parathyroid Surgical Program and the
New York Thyroid Center

A digital laparoscope and flat panel display provide excellent visualization during adrenal procedures like the one above.
A digital laparoscope and flat panel display provide excellent visualization during adrenal procedures like the one above.

Thyroid disorders are extremely common in the United States, with over 20 million people undergoing treatment and an estimated two million others with an undiagnosed thyroid problem. Common thyroid conditions include hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid), hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid), thyroid cancer, and goiters. The most common indication for thyroid surgery is thyroid nodules in symptomatic nodular goiters (a benign enlargement of the thyroid gland).

At NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia, a longstanding clinic has evolved into what is now the renowned New York Thyroid Center. The Center was originally established at Columbia over 15 years ago by the late thyroid and parathyroid surgeon Paul LoGerfo, MD. Today, the surgical staff of the center have developed many approaches that minimize or eliminate the need for surgical treatment of endocrine disorders. These include the use of intraoperative ultrasound, intraoperative hormone monitoring, minimally invasive surgical techniques, the use of local anesthesia, and other advances not available in many hospitals.

Under the leadership of co-directors James A. Lee, MD, Chief, Section of Endocrine/Thyroid Surgery and Associate Professor of Clinical Surgery, and Robert J. McConnell, MD, Professor of Clinical Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, the New York Thyroid Center recently began seeing patients in the newly renovated Garden Center, located in the Irving Pavilion. This beautiful new space is specially designed as a collaborative environment, with consultation, exam, and procedure rooms complimented by central areas for specialists to meet and discuss the treatment plans for patients with thyroid and parathyroid disorders.

“Having the ability to provide comprehensive, multidisciplinary care to patients under one roof is truly a great advance, as we can now provide the most efficient and professional care to our patients," says Dr. Lee. “Patients with complex thyroid and parathyroid disorders can now see the necessary specialists in the same location during one visit to our program, an approach that is very popular with patients," he adds.

In conjunction with the New York Thyroid Center, Columbia’s Thyroid and Parathyroid Surgical Program provides state-of-the-art diagnostic care and minimally invasive surgical treatments of thyroid and parathyroid diseases. Together, these partners have unparalleled experience in the development and practice of minimally invasive thyroid surgery, and stand among the most active institutions nationwide in the research and care of endocrine disorders. Members of the multidisciplinary endocrine program include endocrinologists, surgeons, radiologists, pathologists, and ophthalmologists who are leaders in the classification, treatment, and identification of thyroid and parathyroid disorders.

According to Dr. Lee, the New York Thyroid Center is one of only a few endocrine-focused institutions in the world that consolidates the expertise and technology necessary to provide patients with comprehensive and compassionate care in one location. "This approach is so successful and effective that we are modeling our new Adrenal Center on this ideal," says Dr. Lee.

While patients benefit from the expert care provided at the endocrine center, a robust slate of clinical studies continually broadens and enhances these therapeutic options. Current research includes:

The utility of intraoperative insulin assay for patients undergoing pancreatic resection;
  • Determining the role of intraoperative nerve monitoring during thyroid surgery and reoperative parathyroid surgery;
  • Studying the association of cognitive disorders (i.e. decreased memory, fatigue, depression, etc.) and hyperparathyroidism through the use of functional MRI and cognitive testing;
  • Bariatric surgery as a cure for type 2 diabetes (non-insulin dependent diabetes);
  • The association between osteoporosis and hyperparathyroidism;
  • The association between cardiovascular disease and hyperparathyroidism;
  • The advantages of laparoscopic adrenalectomy over conventional open adrenalectomy;
  • The safety of local anesthesia and same day discharge in patients undergoing sutureless thyroidectomy.

For more information about the Thyroid Center or the Adrenal Center, please call 212.304.7810.

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