We perform parathyroid surgery at two hospitals
We perform about 75% of our parathyroid operations at the Parathyroid Center at Tampa General Hospital, and about 25% at Memorial Hospital of Tampa. This app will tell you which hospital you are going to…but hopefully you know what hospital you are going to well in advance of reading this page.
Arrival at the hospital
Because we operate on 15 or more parathyroid patients per day, we have the patients arrive at different intervals during the morning. Everybody doesn’t show up at the same time and the time we chose for you is done on purpose according to many variables. Some patients need to be in the hospital at 05:00 am, while others don’t need to arrive until 11:00 am. Somebody at the hospital will call you a few days before the operation to give your arrival time. You will also get a reminder on this app the day before surgery sent to your phone as a text message (pretty cool!).
Use the valet parking
About 85% of our patients travel from far enough away that they stay in a local hotel. Many of these folks will use a hotel shuttle, or get an Uber. If you are driving, we highly recommend using the valet service at the front door. The valet service is $5, and at the end of the day our nurses will call down and get your car pulled around for you. The front door is literally right down the hall from the elevator that takes you to the Parathyroid Center at Tampa General Hospital. At Memorial Hospital it is right inside the door. Please tip the valet guys, they work on tips, and tell them you are with us.
Arrival at the Parathyroid Center (for Tampa General Hospital)
When you walk in the front door of the hospital you will take an immediate left turn down a long hallway with white marble floors. There are signs on the wall to the “Parathyroid Center”. You will walk by the cafeteria and then at the end of the hallway it dead-ends at two elevators. The Parathyroid Center is located on the 6th floor of the Bayshore Pavilion. Once there, you will be greeted by a person at the desk (usually Sue) who will get things started. You will then meet with Teresa who will get you registered and put an ID band on your ankle. We also have “Registration Kiosks” right there for you to register yourself. It’s pretty easy for almost everybody to register in a minute or two. You then sit in the waiting room (with an amazing view of Tampa Bay when the sun comes up) waiting to be called back.
Arrival at the Parathyroid Center (for Memorial Hospital)
The waiting room and check in is located right where you enter the hospital–super easy.
Once in BOTH hospitals, one of the parathyroid nurses will come to the waiting room and bring you back to one of the pre-op rooms. This will be your room until after the operation, at which time you will be in a different room (but in the same area).
A beautiful gown just for you!
You will change your clothes into a beautiful hospital gown that we had custom made for you (LOL), and then one of the nurses will put an IV into your arm. Once this is done one of the nurses will go back out to the waiting room to get your spouse/family members to join you. It is at this point that you will start meeting your surgeons as outlined in a different section of this app.
Meet your surgeons.
There are 7 expert surgeons at the Norman Parathyroid Center, and our least-experienced surgeon has done more than 3 times the number of parathyroid operations than anybody else in the world.
Our operations are performed by two surgeons, not one, and this is why we have the highest cure rates in the world. Sometimes, if things are difficult, all three surgeons could play a role. The point is that every patient has at least two of the top 7 parathyroid surgeons in the world. You will meet the surgeons before going to the operating room. Some will meet the surgeons before going for their scan, others will meet the surgeons after the scan. But nobody goes to the operating room without spending time with the surgeons.
You will see your surgeons several times before AND after the operation. There is another page of this app (in this section) that tells you which three surgeons are operating on your day, and it has their bios. Some pretty impressive folks!
Get your scan
You will leave the pre-op area in a wheelchair to get your sestamibi scan. The transport members of our team (Mick, Alejandro, Pam, and Megan) are awesome and may chat your ear off, so be ready to chat about home or your kids. The scan is discussed later in this section of the app.
Once back from your sestamibi scan, you will chat with one of the surgeons (or two, or three) again. They will discuss any strange or interesting things we see on the scan and discuss the possibility that a thyroid nodule may need removed, etc.
Meet your anesthesia team
Once you’ve had the opportunity to discuss any remaining questions with the surgeons, you will meet the operating room nurse and anesthesia team. They will ask you a few questions and then it is time to go to the operating room. Contrary to what is done in virtually every other hospital in the world, we do not intubate the vast majority of our patients (we don’t put a breathing tube into your trachea). Only about 5% of our patients get a breathing tube into the trachea, and this is usually for our biggest (largest) patients.
Note that the virus pandemic rules have made this more variable at TGH, but it isn’t that big of a deal that we need to avoid surgery. We have the same anesthesia team for many years. They are great!
Our anesthesia team works with us every day. We don’t have students. We don’t have residents. Every member of our team has done thousands of parathyroid operations. You will love them!
Off to the operating room
Once you are asleep in the operating room, one of the surgeons will perform an ultrasound on your neck / thyroid / parathyroid. We want to evaluate your thyroid for any potential nodules that may need to be examined, and they want to look at the parathyroid glands that may show up on this scan. We use these ultrasound scans (done right before surgery) to help us plan the operation (where to make the incision, what to do about any thyroid nodules, etc). Our surgeons have done thousands of these scans.
We boot your family out
When you go to the operating room we send your family/friends to the waiting room or to the cafeteria (or Starbucks). They cannot stay in your room, because it is no longer your room. When you are done with the operation, you will go to a different room. VIRUS UPDATE: Your family cannot be with you in the hospital during the virus situation. As discussed in other areas of this app, they should relax at home or at the hotel while you are in the hospital.
Your family has a little over 1 hour to relax and get some food and then they should make their way back to the waiting room on the 6th floor with the great view (where you started your day) to wait for one of the surgeons to come out to talk to them. The surgeons typically will bring out a photo of the parathyroid tumor(s) and will tell them you are doing great. We have a page that describes the photo and how to interpret it later in this section of the app.
You will wake up in the recovery room (right next to where you started) and your nurse will give you your first calcium pill right away (discussed in a different section). Once you are awake enough (typically about 1 hour) you will change your clothes back into your regular clothes and get into a reclining chair to relax some more.
At this point the nurse will come out to get your family to come back and join you. Expect to stay another 30 minutes before you leave. As discussed in a different section, at least one of the doctors will visit with you and your family together before you leave, so keep your photo out so they can chat about it with you. We have another complete section of this app that discusses what to do when you leave the hospital, your calcium requirements, your band-aid, when you can shower, your activities, what you can eat, and other important points.
Your evening phone call
Our surgeons call all of the patients the evening of surgery, so while we are getting everything organized somebody will ask you what phone number to call. All of our patients have 2 surgeons participate but one will be the lead and the other the assistant. The surgeon that took the lead in your operation is typically the surgeon who will call you the night of surgery. This is also the surgeon you will call if you have any urgent issues in the next few days. If you really need to talk to a surgeon during the first few days after your operation and your guy doesn’t answer the phone right away, then please call one of the other surgeons that were with you on your day of surgery. This would be very rare–but we have fail-safe systems to make sure your needs are always met.
Give us a review, Make a video!
The last section of this app (the bright blue Section 6 “How Did We Do? section) doesn’t work until the day of surgery. Now that your day is here, please give us a review. Online reviews are very important to us. By now you know how passionate we are about what we do. If there is something bad, tell it to us in person so we can get better. If the experience was great, then please give us a 5-star rating on Yelp and Google. Section 6 helps you do this.
We included a tool in Section 6 to help you make a video. We limit it to 45 seconds, and you can re-do it until you like your message. Imagine how great it is going to be to have people like you give advice and teach people in the future when they have a parathyroid problem.