Fortunately, few children need surgery for thyroid problems. Thyroid surgery is used for the treatment of thyroid nodules, Graves’ disease, thyroid cancer, multinodular goiters, and multiple endocrine neoplasia (MEN) syndromes.
When children need thyroid surgery, we provide a unique multidisciplinary approach by pairing a pediatric thyroid surgeon with a high volume endocrine surgeon. In this way, you have both special pediatric and special thyroid surgery expertise. Because of its unique surgical expertise and multidisciplinary approach in caring for children needing thyroid surgery, the Yale Pediatric Thyroid Center is one of the busiest pediatric thyroid surgery programs in the United States.
The Yale Pediatric Thyroid Center performs the following types of operations: removal of thyroid nodules, treatment of thyroid cancer, the prophylactic removal of thyroid tissue for individuals who have multiple endocrine neoplasias (MEN), and the surgical treatment of Graves’ disease.
After surgery, patients stay in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Yale-New Haven Hospital, where they receive close attention in one-on-one care.
The good news is that most individuals who have had thyroid surgery for the thyroid disorder will experience improvement in their health. Upon discharge from the hospital, patients are given detailed care instructions in person. We work closely with local physicians to coordinate follow-up care; continuing care will be provided by the Yale Pediatric Thyroid Center and your own personal physician.
YPTC Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Program
Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia (MEN) syndromes are associated with medullary cancer of the thyroid, pheochromocytomas and problems with the parathyroid glands. There are several types of MEN syndromes, including MEN1, MEN2a, and MEN2b. MEN conditions can be diagnosed with genetic tests and require expert care.
The Yale Pediatric Thyroid Center coordinates the evaluation and care of families with MEN. We provide evaluation, genetic testing, surgical care and long term follow-up for families with MEN conditions.
YPTC Endocrine Surgery Program
In addition, to providing expert surgical care for thyroid conditions, Yale-New Haven Hospital has a Pediatric Endocrine Surgery Program that is affiliated with the Yale Pediatric Thyroid Center. Other endocrine conditions needing surgery include hyperparathyroidism, abnormalities of the adrenal gland, and reproductive system problems.
Hyperparathyroidism occurs when one of the four small glands in the neck, called parathyroid glands, that regulate calcium metabolism becomes overactive. In hyperparathyroidism, circulating levels of calcium become elevated. This can have serious adverse affects on the circulatory system and the kidneys. The surgeons at Yale are internationally recognized experts in the treatment of hyperparathyroidism.
Disorders of the adrenal gland include masses. Children can have a tumor called a pheochromocytoma, which overproduces adrenaline. The signs of this tumor are elevated blood pressures, rapid heart rate, and facial redness. These tumors can be seen in Multiple Endocrine Neoplasias. Surgery can often be performed laparoscopically using smaller incisions in the abdomen.
The adrenal tumors can also arise from the outside the adrenal glands. These can be benign or malignant. The Yale Pediatric Endocrine Surgery Program is a leading center for the surgical removal of adrenal tumors and adrenal cancer.