Thyroid & Parathyroid

Thyroid and Parathyroid Disorders

Led by Medical Director of Head and Neck Endocrine Surgery, Dr. Ralph P. Tufano, the Sarasota Memorial Thyroid and Parathyroid Center provides a comprehensive program to diagnose and treat patients with a variety of thyroid and parathyroid diseases and conditions including tumors, benign nodules and hyperparathyroidism.

We understand that not everyone needs a procedure or surgery, but everyone does need a clear understanding of the options available for management of their condition and the expectations for comprehensive follow-up.

Thyroid and parathyroid conditions represent a wide spectrum of severity and complexity, so an evaluation focused on a patient’s individual medical situation and values is essential. Our collaborative philosophy allows the patient to make a personalized treatment plan decision. Dr. Tufano has focused on thyroid and parathyroid surgical and medical management for the last two decades and recognizes the importance of a patient focused, team approach to ensure the best outcomes.

Conditions We Treat:

  • Hyperparathyroidism
  • Benign thyroid disease
  • Early, advanced and recurrent thyroid cancers
  • Thyroid nodules
  • Neck lymph node metastases
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Graves’ Disease
  • Goiter

Surgical Expertise

Dr. Tufano is a world-renowned thyroid and parathyroid surgeon who performs a full complement of minimally invasive and comprehensive treatment techniques with a focus on developing and delivering the best treatment plan for each patient. He and his team developed the now internationally established approach for scarless transoral thyroidectomy and parathyroid surgery.

Radiofrequency Ablation Therapy: Non-Surgical Treatment for Benign Thyroid Nodules

Even if they’re benign, thyroid nodules can greatly impact your quality of life, creating unsightly swelling in your neck, making it difficult or uncomfortable to swallow, and sometimes even affecting your ability to breathe easy throughout the day. Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) provides a non-surgical alternative to reduce or shrink these nodules right in the doctor’s office.

This quick and minimally invasive procedure uses radiofrequency waves and heat – instead of blades and incisions – to treat the nodule, rarely ever compromising overall thyroid function.

Thyroid Nodules

The thyroid gland makes hormones that help regulate metabolism, heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature. Many types of growths and tumors, called nodules, can develop in the thyroid gland.

An oversized thyroid gland is often called a goiter and can be diffuse or nodular. Goiters can be caused by an imbalance of hormone and are typically benign.

Most thyroid nodules are also benign. Only approximately 3 in 20 nodules are cancerous.

Benign nodules that produce too much thyroid hormone cause hyperthyroidism.

When nodules are detected, an ultrasound is performed and the physician will apply a grading system to determine if a nodule should be monitored with repeat ultrasound examinations or if a biopsy will be recommended.

Thyroid Cancer

Thyroid cancers can occur in men and women of any age, but occur three times more often in women with risk peaking between ages 40-60. For men, the risk peaks between ages 60-80.

Most cases of thyroid cancer have no obvious risk factors, although radiation exposure, especially in childhood, is one known contributor. In addition, familial medullary thyroid cancer can be inherited and accounts for about 2 out of 10 medullary thyroid carcinomas. Genetic testing can be done to look for the related gene mutation.

Most thyroid cancers are asymptomatic, but symptoms can include swelling in the neck, a quickly growing lump in the neck, pain in the front of the neck, trouble swallowing, a constant cough not related to other illness and hoarseness or voice changes.

Many thyroid cancers have an excellent prognosis and are highly treatable. Though less common types, including medullary thyroid carcinoma, poorly differentiated thyroid carcinoma and anaplastic thyroid carcinoma, can be more challenging to manage and require surgical expertise and a multidisciplinary team to achieve the best outcomes.

Surgery to remove all or part of the thyroid gland is generally the first and most common treatment option for thyroid cancer. In some cases, lymph nodes are also removed from the neck. Most thyroidectomies are performed as an outpatient surgery or with an overnight stay.

After surgery, thyroid hormone replacement therapy may be prescribed to maintain thyroid function.

Parathyroid Surgery

The small parathyroid glands (typically four) regulate calcium levels in the blood and body. They help to maintain normal electrical energy to our nervous and muscular systems and to maintain skeletal strength.

Elevated serum calcium levels may result from a parathyroid adenoma (benign tumor) on one of the parathyroid glands. This can affect the renal function, formation of kidney stones, development of osteoporosis and may cause an overall unwell feeling.

Primary hyperparathyroidism and tertiary hyperparathyroidism often require surgical intervention. Following diagnosis, identification and localization of the lesion, and surgical removal of the parathyroid adenoma, serum calcium levels should normalize.

Program Highlights:

  • Personalized Approach: Appointments are scheduled to be timely because we know your care can’t wait. Once you come in for an evaluation, Dr. Tufano and his team will determine the best course of treatment to meet your individualized diagnosis and care needs.
  • Multidisciplinary Team: Surgeons, endocrinologists, pathologists, radiologists, advanced practitioners, rehabilitation and speech therapists collaborate to personalize treatment plans and improves our patients’ outcomes. The expertise of our team and our multidisciplinary approach improves our patients’ outcomes.
  • State-of-the-Art Facility: Opened in November 2021, the 8-story oncology tower on Sarasota Memorial’s Sarasota campus is the cornerstone of Sarasota Memorial’s Brian D. Jellison Cancer Institute. The tower has 56 private inpatient suites dedicated to cancer treatment and recovery, the latest treatment and surgical technology, 9 new operating rooms and a full array of patient navigation, counseling and support services. A rooftop café crowns the tower. From the ground up, the Jellison Cancer Institute is designed to deliver the best possible clinical outcomes and patient experiences in state-of-the-art facilities close to home.
  • Nationally Accredited Cancer Institute: The Brian D. Jellison Cancer Institute at Sarasota Memorial carries the nation’s highest level of accreditation by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer (CoC). It has maintained continuous CoC accreditation since 1988.

First Physicians Group offers the most advanced treatment
for ear, nose, throat, head and neck conditions.