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New approach to thyroid surgery

Yale Medicine Magazine, 2009 - Winter


Over the last two years the Yale Pediatric Thyroid Center has treated 30 patients by using a new approach—the pairing of pediatric and adult surgeons in the operating room. The center may be the only facility in the United States exclusively devoted to the care of children with thyroid conditions.

“The right surgical expertise is important for optimizing outcomes, because the area by the neck is delicate, especially in young children,” said Scott Rivkees, M.D., professor of pediatrics and director of the center.

Since far more thyroid surgeries are performed on adults than on children, Yale physicians combined the expertise of Robert Udelsman, M.D., M.B.A., department chair and the William A. Carmalt Professor of Surgery, a high-volume adult endocrine surgeon, with the skills of Christopher Breuer, M.D., a pediatric surgeon versed in the challenges of treating thyroid disorders in young patients.

“We can tell parents, ‘You’re going to have one of the world’s most experienced endocrine surgery teams working on your child,’ ” Udelsman said.