Meet a Doctor: Gregory W. Randolph, M.D.
Since joining the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in 1986, Greg Randolph, M.D., founder of the Division of Thyroid and Parathyroid Surgery, has seen a 2,000 percent increase in thyroid surgeries at the hospital.
Dr. Randolph is the Director of the General Otolaryngology Service and Director of the Thyroid and Parathyroid Surgical Service at Mass. Eye and Ear. Having always been intrigued by endocrinology, he became interested in the anatomy of the head and neck while he was in medical school at Cornell University. Thyroid and parathyroid surgery bring together his two greatest areas of interest.
One of Dr. Randolph’s goals is to improve treatment for patients with thyroid cancer. Prompted by a passion for his specialty, and with the support of generous friends, he has been actively involved in the development and use of recurrent laryngeal nerve (RLN) monitoring during thyroid surgery. The recurrent laryngeal nerve, which is located near the thyroid gland, supplies motor function to the larynx (voice box). Damage to this nerve during surgery can result in a patient losing the ability to speak. Monitoring the nerve continuously during surgery can help avoid damage to the nerve and preserve the patient’s voice.
Dr. Randolph travels internationally to share knowledge about this new technology, and to educate other surgeons about its benefits. He has made repeated trips to the Ukraine with the Children’s Chernobyl Project, an organization that provides surgery and treatment to children with thyroid cancer due to radiation exposure. Radiation from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986 has contributed to a rise in the rates of thyroid cancers in that region. Dr. Randolph was the only American physician to participate in an international symposium at the United Nations in New York to recognize the 20th anniversary of the disaster.
In addition to educating practicing surgeons, Dr. Randolph established the first otolaryngology thyroid and parathyroid fellowship in the country to educate future surgeons and specialists. He is now training his eighth fellow. The fellowship is open to otolaryngologists and general surgeons.
“Teaching thyroid and parathyroid fellows is especially gratifying to me,” says Dr. Randolph. “It’s a pleasure to see their skills increase throughout the year.”
Dr. Randolph is also working with the American Academy of Otolaryngology (AAO) to establish an outcome registry for thyroid and parathyroid surgery, and has led an AAO delegation of surgeons to Moscow and St. Petersburg. “By evaluating current procedures, we can determine how to improve. A registry such as this will ultimately advance the quality of surgery and treatment for patients around the world,” says Dr. Randolph.
Dr. Randolph is now working on the second edition of a book about thyroid and parathyroid sugery. He is the founder and director of the annual Harvard Thyroid Surgery course. He is also involved in developing Mass. Eye and Ear's Thyroid Center of Excellence.