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I'd like to consult with a surgeon who studied under Dr Norman &/or uses his methods, is located in CA (or takes Partnership Health plan!). Anyone know if such a surgeon exists? My MD is referring me to Dr Wen Shen (who is listed in the AAES) at UCSF where they'll likely accept my state paid healthcare, but do not agree with Norman's philosophies, don't do as many parathyroidectomies, don't check all 4 glands, treat & operate only per scan results, use general anesthesia for a non-radioguided 2 to 3 hr surgery, & leave at least a 1.5" scar with no guarantees of choosing a minimally invasive approach. I know UC hs a good reputation, but in my past personal cancer experience, they treated patients like cattle, lost us in the system, & had I not fired them, I wouldn't be alive & cancer-free today (they told me i would die in 2007 & refused to agressively fight my cancer). Trusting them with neck surgery is scary, especially since I need to safeguard my singing voice. Any comments on experiences & recommendations would be greatly appreciated. Thx in advance.     

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Hi…I had to have ''redo'' parathyroid surgery that was performed by Dr Michael Yeh, head of UCLA Endocrine Surgery. I live in N. California and have known of Dr Wen Shen @ UCSF since doing extensive research in finding a surgeon to perform my surgery. I chose to go to UCLA for many reasons, but mostly because of Dr Yeh. HE trained @ UCSF and he is also listed in the AAES. He managed to diagnose an ectopic adenoma located inside my thyroid causing my Ca levels to never drop into the normal range after having failed Parathryoid surgery in 2013. He did an outstanding job, UCLA was fine, Dr Yeh's department is excellent and I am finally feeling well after a very difficult few years. I wouldn't hesitate to contact this doctor. He doesn't completely agree with Dr. Norman's approach either, but he performs this surgery all the time! Check out the website and read the reviews. i can't guarantee anything, but I can recommend Dr Yeh without hesitation. He is very busy, which is good, but I never doubted his ability to do an excellent job, and he did. It's been almost 4 months now, my scar is pretty much invisible, my voice was immediately normal, and I am so very grateful to have found him. If you have any questions I would be happy to help. Good luck to you!
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Hi! Thx for your reply! Doesn't Dr Yeh work WITH Dr Larian, or am I mistaken? Do you happen to know if Dr Yeh takes Medi-CAL? I might be able to drive down south & find a place to stay, but unsure if I'd be any more comfortable at UCLA than UCSF closer to home, if they have the same equipment & methods. Thanks so much for the suggestion; I appreciate the feedback & will do further research. I found out today the parathyroid surgeons at UCSF were trained by Dr. Orlo Clark, who I haven't heard of & am still looking for info on him. He's retired now (so probably old school, LOL).Dr. Norman's site is obviously commercialized for profit--but minimally Invasive & checking all 4 glands radio-guided still sounds like it makes more sense. It's a difficult decision to make when my health is at stake, especially with limited resources. Your scar is healing & voice normal--that's terrific. How about your symptoms? Did you have symptoms before the surgery that went away? Thx soo much for being here!
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Hi there. This is so weird…Dr Larian is not connected with the Endocrine Surgery Unit of UCLA. He is a head and neck surgeon, operates @ Cedars Sinai. He did my original surgery and could not figure out why my Ca never dropped below 10. Nice guy, but unfortunately not a good outcome. He and Michael Yeh definitely know each other.  I don't know about Medi-Cal. You would have to check on that. Never heard of Dr Orlo Clark (and I have done a lot of research) As for Dr Norman…I started on the road to Tampa in 2012 but decided against it for several reasons. Yes, I had a lot of symptoms both physically and emotionally, all of which have gone away TYG. Really amazing how this disease can make you feel and the damage it does. Hopefully my Osteoporosis is improving. Will know more when I have a Dexa Scan next year. I am sleeping pretty well, my mood is good, memory too. Joint pains are gone for the most part…i had trigger fingers in both hands..still have occasionally in one finger of my right hand, but I don't pay a lot of attention to it. By the way, my PTH level fell way down after the first surgery, causing Dr L to believe that everything was fine, but he couldn't find the 4th gland. Dr Norman is right on about that. Dr Yeh tested my Ca level several times during and after surgery, making sure the levels were in the normal range. He never tested the PTH. He doesn't use radio-guided techniques, and there is a lot of controversy about using that. Hope this helps.

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Thanx for your post. It looks like with my limited insurance & the cost of private pay, I won't get to choose Drs, so I'll hope for the best at UCSF with Dr Wen Shen, & try to be grateful & optimistic. While I believe I have a parathyroid tumor, but my labs might be considered borderline by more conventional Drs looking to diagnose by images. I hope they don't tell me to wait & watch for a few years. If anyone's interested, this is what I found out abt Dr Orlo Clark (the retired endocrine surgeon who trained that dept at UCSF): "Dr. Clark, a world-renowned endocrine surgeon and researcher during his career, was also an outstanding teacher... Dr. Orlo H. Clark served as Chief of Surgery at Mt. Zion Medical Center and the Vice Chair of the Department of Surgery. He was trained at Cornell University Medical School and at UCSF and did an Endocrine Surgical Fellowship at the Royal Postgraduate Medical Center in London. He has held many leadership positions in the Department of Surgery at UCSF and has been President of the American Association of Endocrine Surgeons, the American Thyroid Association, and the International Association of Endocrine Surgeons. He has also been listed among the top surgeons in America in numerous publications. " found at http://endocrine.surgery.ucsf.edu/conditions--procedures/parathyroidectomy.aspx#Why-UCSF-for-Parathyroid-Surgery
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Good luck to you! Feel better soon!
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I had surgery the end of September by Dr. Kathleen Stickney at the Polyclinic in Seattle. She studied under Dr. Norman and is the most experienced surgeon in quite a large region. She was the only parathyroid surgeon for many years in WA state. I do not know if your insurance would be accepted by her office but you might would want to check. Dr. Kathleen Stickney I am very satisfied with her work.


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Thanks for your post. I wish I could see Dr. Kathleen Stickney, but she doesn't take my insurance, & charges abt $15k to $20K private pay. A bit more info for everyone here, I've also talked to Dr Norman's office abt Dr Stickney, & was told she did not, nor did any other doctor, ever study under Dr Norman, as he has not trained ANY Drs to use his methods & philosophies. I was told they may know each other from med school, but never worked together since Norman developed his practice. So I don't know if Dr Stickney makes that claim directy or if it was a misunderstanding on this forum. It does sound as if her philosophy is most aligned with his, though, which I like. Thanks again for the comments, & I'll report back when I learn more about my experience at UCSF.     

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LucsMomma, Can you plz tell me more about what you learned when researching Dr Wen Shen, &/or where I might find more research info on him, & on your Dr Yeh? All I found online was Shen's UCSF profile intro page which told virtually nothing about his procedure methods or philosophies. I learned more from calling his office, but nothing that made me feel comfortable! With my limited insurance coverage, I felt discouraged about having limited options. But in re-reading your posts, I wonder if your surgeon at UCLA could have enough of a different practice from Dr Shen at UCSF to make the difference in my case, & maybe also be covered by my insurance since he's in CA state. It'd be worth investigating, so I'd appreciate any further direction you might be able to offer on how to further research them. Thanks again!

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When I was first diagnosed Dr Shen was recommended. At that point I was beginning the process with Dr Norman's office, which I decided against for various reasons. As for Dr Yeh, he was one of the first surgeons I was impressed with, after reading the comments on the website. UCLA has very advanced equipment (better than UCSF) In fact, the Ultra Sound in Dr Yeh's office proved to be the way the ectopic adenoma was found. He saw it almost instantly. I believe that Dr Yeh does a lot more Parathyroid surgery than most surgeons in the country. People come there from around the world…and he doesn't have the ''ego'' of Dr Norman. He's a class act!
If I were you, I would at least call his office. Ask him about Dr Shen. He trained there and I'm sure he knows him. Ask about the insurance thing…I don't now what else to say. I had to go through quite a lot before my second surgery. The first surgeon as well as my Endocrinologist didn't seem to know why my Calcium remained high. Had I listened to them I don't know where I would be now. You have to follow your heart on this one, but it doesn't hurt to make a phone call.
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Thanks LucsMomma. I will do! Hope you're having a lovely Christmas season! :)

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And to you as well! Good luck!
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Thank you so much! I will look it up! Best!

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I made contact with Dr Michael Yeh at UCLA by email & got a personal & quick reply from him (on a holiday even!) saying he'd be happy to help me. I had my records sent to him with my MD's referral, then just had a phone consult with him this AM. The outcome is he said I need the surgery, & though he's willing to see me & it would be his honor, he recommends it would be easier for me to see someone local. He referred me back to UCSF where my MD originally intended to send me to Dr Wen Shen. Since I'd previously researched & called them already, & didn't like that I was told (by UCSF staff) they routinely do the 2 to 3 hr surgery under full general anesthesia, don't guarantee MIPS, & don't check all glands. (Not to mention I've had negative past experience in same department at UCSF, wherein I felt they were impersonal, treat patients like cattle, refused to fight my cancer & flat out told me my life wasn't worth saving by their standards--had I stayed in their care I wouldn't be alive & cancer-free today). Dr. Yeh said UCSF's endocrine dept. is excellent, comparable, & that he was trained there. He suggested I "stay off the Internet" as much of what we read are "elaborate sales pitches to manipulate patients" to choose specific docs & practices. He said getting an experienced surgeon is the main thing, but also said there's no huge advantage between a surgeon who performs 8 parathyroid surgeries per month (Dr Shen, UCSF) vs 8 per day (Dr Yeh, UCLA). He said the expertise, methods, & scanning equipment are comparable & patients should trust their doctor regarding procedure decisions like the need to check all 4 glands or not, which is not as big a deal as the Internet implies. I'm willing to meet Dr Shen & decide then I guess, I'm disappointed & can't help suspect this recommendation comes down to my state insurance paying less. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thx!       

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Congratulations in making contact with Dr Yeh. Sounds like he was very honest in his answer to you. As for the insurance paying less being his reason for recommending that you stay closer to home (going to UCSF) I don't think that's the reason. He is an upstanding guy, and I believe that is his opinion in your case, no matter what your insurance. His remarks about the internet come from his very wise opinion (Dr Norman is one of the culprits for sure IMHO). Do see Dr Shen and stop driving yourself crazy about this. Just take care of it! Parathyroid Disease can make you less than rational at times. I know this first hand, and the internet can definitely confuse the issues. Have faith, think positively and good luck!!!
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