Current Trainee and Workforce Patterns for Thyroid and Parathyroid Surgery in the United States

Louise Davies, Amy Y. Chen, Babak Givi, Brian Saunders, Elizabeth Walker, Marc A. Polacco, David Terris, Gregory Randolph

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: Thyroid and parathyroid surgery is performed by both general surgeons and otolaryngologists. We describe the proportion of surgeries performed by specialty, providing data to support decisions about when and to whom to direct research, education, and quality improvement interventions. Methods: We tabulated case numbers for privately insured patients undergoing thyroid and parathyroid surgery in Marketscan: 2010–2016 and trainee case logs for residents and fellows in general surgery and otolaryngology. Summary statistics and tests for trends and differences were calculated. Results: Marketscan data captured 114 500 thyroid surgeries. The proportion performed by each specialty was not significantly different. Otolaryngologists performed 58 098 and general surgeons performed 56 402. Otolaryngologists more commonly performed hemithyroidectomy (n = 25 148, 43.29% of all thyroid surgeries performed by otolaryngologists) compared to general surgeons (n = 20 353, 36.09% of all thyroid surgeries performed by general surgeons). Marketscan data captured 21 062 parathyroid surgeries: 6582 (31.25%) were performed by otolaryngologists, and 14 480 (68.75%) were performed by general surgeons. The case numbers of otolaryngology and general surgery trainees completing residency and fellowship varied 6- to 9-fold across different sites. The wide variation may reflect both the level of exposure a particular training program offers and trainee level of interest. Conclusion: Thyroid surgical care is equally provided by general surgeons and otolaryngologists. Both specialties contribute significantly to parathyroid surgical care. Both specialties should provide input into and be targets of research, quality, and education interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)749-753
Number of pages5
JournalEndocrine Practice
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • Workforce
  • general surgery
  • otolaryngology
  • parathyroid surgery
  • surgery
  • thyroid surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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