As with most types of surgery, the chance of having a successful and safe operation increases with the experience of the surgeon. In particular, thyroid surgery is a highly specialized field which requires significant experience to master. When visiting a surgeon for thyroid disease, keep in mind that the specific title of the surgeon is not necessarily relevant to their experience in thyroid surgery. For example, a head and neck surgeon may not necessarily be an expert in thyroid surgery. It is therefore important that you inquire about the surgeon's specific experience. Do not be afraid to ask how many thyroid and parathyroid operations a surgeon performs each year and what their personal complication rate is. An expert will expect to be asked these questions and should not get offended by them. Research has shown that a surgeon should do more than 50 thyroid and parathyroid operations a year to be considered an expert. In addition, the overall number of thyroid operations he or she has done matters. Use the chart below to determine the experience of your surgeon.
- Total No. of Thyroid or Parathyroid Operations: < 200
Experience Level: Inexperienced
- Total No. of Thyroid or Parathyroid Operations: 200-500
Experience Level: Intermediate
- Total No. of Thyroid or Parathyroid Operations: >500
Experience Level: Experienced
- Total No. of Thyroid or Parathyroid Operations: >1000
Experience Level: Expert
Our New York Thyroid surgeons perform many times that number each year and have each performed thousands of neck operations in their careers.