Over 90% of the patients operated on at the Norman Parathyroid Center live more than 100 miles away. Thus almost everybody doesn’t live in Tampa, they have to travel here by car or airplane. You will meet with your surgeons and the entire team the morning of the operation. You will have time to discuss the operation, your thyroid issues, your postoperative instructions, and meet with the anesthesia team the morning of your operation. Everything will be done in one visit. It is very efficient, and we’ve done it over 45,000 times.
Zero, one, or two nights in a hotel
If you live within 100 miles or so, most people drive in the day of surgery and drive home with zero hotel nights. People coming from further away but still live in Florida often will get a hotel room for the night before the operation, and then get in the car to drive home after the operation. Thus people from further away in Florida (West Palm Beach, Miami, Jacksonville) most often get one hotel night (the night before surgery).
People that fly into Tampa for their operation should plan on 2 hotel nights… the night before the operation and one night after the operation.
COVID-19 Virus Considerations
The virus has changed a number of things we do (temporarily!). The biggest thing is that all patients need to have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of your operation day. So depending on where you live, you may need to spend an extra day in the hotel (come a day early) so you can get the test and have the results prior to your day of operation. These tests take time and that is our biggest challenge. Kathy in our office as well as the hospital pre-op coordinators will help you figure all of this out.
Going home by car
If you are traveling by car, you should feel free to get in the car after your operation and drive on home. Of course, you can’t drive, but you can be a passenger. If you live in Florida and are traveling by car, you should plan on driving home the same day, although some patients do choose to stay the night of surgery in Tampa. Remember, the first 3 patients of the day can expect to be out of the hospital by 9:45 am, so traveling home by car is easy. However, patients who are the last ones of our day may not leave the hospital until 6:00 pm or so. These later patients should plan on staying in the Tampa area if they have to drive more than an hour or two.
Going home by airplane
Just under 60% of our patients live outside of Florida, with about 8% living outside of the United States. Thus, more than half of our patients fly to Tampa for their operation. We recommend flying home the day after the operation. We do not recommend flying the day of surgery. Trust us, we’ve done this well over 30,000 times. Spend the night of surgery in Tampa, (or drive to Orlando, or the beach, or somewhere else in Florida), and then fly home the next day.
Flying to other countries
If you have flown into Tampa from another country, you can still plan on flying home the day after surgery. Interestingly, most people from other countries elect to spend one more day in Tampa going to the museum, to the Aquarium, to the Dali Museum, to the beach, or to Disney. But you can feel free to fly back to another country the day after surgery if you chose.