Thyroid and Neck Surgery Made Easy -- How to Become a Patient at the Clayman Thyroid Cancer Center.
Thyroid surgery and thyroid cancer surgery can be difficult and challenging. Because of the demand for my expertise in thyroid cancer surgery and my exceptional results, I can perform between 3 and 8 thyroid/neck surgeries per day (depending upon the patients and disease extent), 5 days per week (average 24 thyroid operations per week, about 1,000 per year). This includes about half of our patients from outside the state of Florida each week. We have a system which allows patients to have their thyroid tumor or cancer evaluated before taking the trip to Tampa, so most patients make one trip here and have a one day visit with me to put your thyroid surgery behind you.Remember, 100% of my patients get thyroid surgery or thyroid related cancer surgery, it is all that I do! And YES, if your ultrasound is negative for lymph node spread in your neck, you get a minimally invasive surgery. I will make your thyroid surgery straight forward, simple, safe, and successful. This page will tell you how to have your operation with the Clayman Thyroid Cancer Center, what it costs, how the process works, and what you can expect.
This page will walk you through the process of how to be our patient in 4 steps:
- 1. Understand what makes this practice unique and our reputation as the best thyroid cancer surgeon in the world.
- 2. Understand the fee structure: We take insurance for the operation, but there is a online medical consultation fee up front so you have access to Dr. Clayman and the Clayman Thyroid Cancer Center team and you get the operation you need (and avoid an operation you don't need).
- 3. Fill out our secure new-patient form.
- 4. Have your consult with Dr. Clayman and then get on his operating schedule.
Have a Question?
We know that there is a lot of information on the site and it can be hard to take it all in. If you have a question for Dr. Clayman or for our office, please contact us using this form and we'd be happy to help.
The Clayman Thyroid Cancer Center is by far the world's leading thyroid cancer treatment center with the world's most experienced team dedicated to thyroid cancer surgery and other surgically related thyroid diseases. That is the only thing that we do.
Dr. Clayman performs surgery within the brand new Thyroid Cancer Center at Tampa General Hospital, a new wing of this large hospital built for our team. Dr. Clayman is one of the few (if only surgeons in the world) that limits his practice to only thyroid surgery and thyroid cancer surgery. Dr. Clayman performed more than 600 thyroid cancer related surgeries per year for over 23 years. Almost half of these patients were recurrent thyroid cancers patients which had previously been operated on by surgeons that proclaim themselves to be thyroid surgery experts. Dr. Clayman doesn't do breast biopsies, gallbladders, and obesity surgery. He doesn't put tubes in kids ears or take out tonsils. Dr. Clayman does not treat any other type of head and neck cancer. He doesn't even treat parathyroid tumors. If you have a parathyroid tumor or hypercalcemia, you will see my colleagues at the Norman Parathyroid Center. That is all that they do!
Because of Dr. Clayman's expertise, people from all over the US and many other countries travel to Tampa to have thyroid surgery or be cured of their thyroid cancer. Because of Dr. Clayman's unparalleled experience there are also unparalleled results. His publications have established the standard of surgical excellence and control of persistent/recurrent papillary thyroid cancer and even aggressive/invasive thyroid cancers. For patients with small thyroid cancers, with or without spread to neck lymph nodes, nearly 99% of patients are cured at their very first visit with him-almost all via an operation that takes between 30-60 minutes, going home between 1 and 2 hours after surgery or staying over night depending upon the required surgery . We strive for a cure rate of over 99% because we simply can't allow patients to go through the trouble of getting to Tampa and not being cured. However, don't let the fact that Dr. Clayman performs so many thyroid operations make you think that he doesn't treat all of his patients well. He does! In fact, every patient is given Dr. Clayman's home telephone number and cell phone number so they have access to them if the need arises. We don't have an answering service. Importantly, we do not have students or surgery residents or fellows performing any thyroid operations (this is important to you!). There simply is no way to perform this quality of surgery with the expertise Dr. Clayman provides while having a surgeon in training being the person performing the operation. Click here to read more about Dr. Gary Clayman.
We provide the safest and most successful thyroid cancer operations available anywhere in the world which is why we have testimonials from so many grateful patients. We will help arrange all aspects of the trip except the travel. Typically, a patient can fly to Tampa, have their thyroid surgery, and return home in the same time that he/she would be in the hospital if a standard thyroid operation was performed someplace else. Nearly half of all of our patients are able to go home within 2.5 hours of the operation. The other half are able to go home the following morning with the exception of the most very major thyroid cancer surgeries.
You will spend about 4 or 5 hours with us and take care of every aspect of this disease--putting the idea of cancer behind you for good. During this one visit you will consult face to face with Dr. Clayman (the most experienced thyroid surgeon in the world), have a high resolution ultrasound of your neck by a diagnostic team of world experts as well, possibly have a needle biopsy and immediate assessment of the microscopic appearance of the cells by world experts, possibly have a CT scan of your neck based upon ultrasound findings in the most state of the art scanner with exquisite detail, have the right operation by the best thyroid surgeon in the world, spend time in the recovery room with a view of the ocean (Tampa Bay), visit with Dr. Clayman after the operation to review the photo of your tumor and what was found in surgery, and then head home (or to one of our partner hotels). For more extensive surgeries, you will stay at the hospital in what we call extended recovery with all the comforts you would expect from the beginning of your Clayman Thyroid Cancer Center experience. And, with the exception of the operating room, your family can stay with you the entire time. You get all Dr. Clayman's cell phone number and any one else you need to contact, and if you go home, Dr. Clayman will call you the night of surgery. You don't need any scans or x-rays before you come here (we very strongly prefer you do not have any scans of any kind) because we do everything in one visit. But if you have had a scan, Dr. Clayman will review it and determine its quality and ability to meet your needs.
Most insurance companies do not require a referral from another doctor. You do not need an endocrinologist referral. If you have an endocrinologist, that is wonderful and Dr. Clayman will communicate all of your tests, results, surgical findings, pathology report and any additional indications for treatment. If you do not have an endocrinologist, Dr. Clayman will refer you to one of his many colleagues throughout the country and world to have quality follow up at home. The evaluation, doctor visits, operation... everything done in one visit. Put all of this behind you and get on with your life... feeling better and living youir life better! The Clayman Thyroid Cancer Center providing: Caring, Excellence, Safe, and Successful.
Click Here to read what patients say about having surgery by Dr. Clayman at the Clayman Thyroid Cancer Center. When you return home, you see your doctor or endocrinologist in 1- 2 month's time. There are no stitches to take out (they all dissolve). You will see a superglue type material over your incision. There is nothing to do except shower and towel dry over the applied glue . We will provide you a pre-printed lab slip to get your blood tested in a month or two and will send the results of this test directly to all of your doctors. We will communicate directly with all of your doctors who will be sent detailed information about your thyroid operation--they will have all your pertinent records before you see them a month or two after the operation. Your doctors will also get a personal letter describing what was done and they will get a photo of the removed thyroid tumor and detailed pathology report and measurements of your parathyroid hormone levels after your surgery. The best part of course, is that the most common thyroid cancer surgeries performed by Dr. Clayman have a cure rate of nearly 99%, the risk of complications is extremely low (far less than one percent risk), the incision is generally very small (usually about 1 inch) and postoperative pain is very little (usually lasts only a few hours).
All of Dr. Clayman's patients get only the exact surgery they require. It may be a minimally invasive thyroidectomy with an incision about an inch in length. It may be a surgery to remove thyroid cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes of the side of the neck. The surgery may change based upon findings during the evaluation or findings during surgery. This is truly personalized care. The right surgery for you and for the cure of your thyroid cancer. We decide on the extent of surgery based upon your Thyroid Cancer Center comprehensive evaluation and findings during surgery- this is the only way to assure that you receive the exact operation you require to address all of your disease! Please read this again, this is what confuses the most people. And yes, we will take care of any worrisome findings during your operation-Dr. Clayman does this all the time.
Clayman Thyroid Cancer Center
- Early stage papillary thyroid cancer cure rate 99.9%
- Average Operative Time Thyroidectomy alone - 29 minutes (total time from first cut to band-aid)
- Average wound length thyroidectomy (average for ALL patients obese and skinny combined) - 1.2 inch
- Average amount of blood loss during the operation - less than one teaspoon (essentially none).
- How often Dr. Clayman performs a second (or 3rd, 4th or greater surgery) re-operation because another surgeon was unsuccessful - every day. Half of Dr. Clayman's surgeries
- How often we use doctors in training (anesthesiology residents) to help with your anesthesia - never.
- How often we have doctors in training (surgery residents) do part or all of your operation - never.
- How often we operate on people over 80 years of age - virtually every day.
- Number of times Dr. Clayman has been sued - Zero. Never.
- How often Dr. Clayman publishes in major medical journals - about every 6 months.
- How often our patients send flowers and candy - every day!
- Number of States patients come from every year - 50 (about 1/2 of patients are from outside Florida).
- How often Dr. Clayman operates on patients from other countries - weekly.
How to have surgery at the Clayman Thyroid Cancer Center at Tampa General Hospital.
Dr. Clayman performs all operations with the dedicated surgical team at the Thyroid Cancer Center at Tampa General Hospital, one of "America's Best Hospitals" in seven different medical specialties, including Head and Neck Surgery and Endocrinology (that's us...for 8 years in a row!). We have half of an entire floor of the hospital that is dedicated to thyroid surgery only. We have the worlds most experienced and talented team dedicated to thyroid disease--thus the constant accolades and awards. The all new Clayman Thyroid Cancer Center is already in its final phases of design and construction and is scheduled for completion in February of 2018.
We accept almost every insurance for the cost of the operation, including Medicare. Our hospital, anesthesia team, x-rays, etc. will also accept almost all insurance payments for the operation.
HOWEVER, What does it cost? There are two primary categories of fees to consider: 1) the online medical opinion consultation with one of our experts. 2) the operation itself. Whether or not your insurance covers these two services depends on your health plan benefit, but we can check the benefit for you ahead of time to see if your insurance will cover the services. We are in-network for most major health plans which will cover the cost of the operation, however, most of the insurers we are in-network with cover in-person, face-to-face services only. This means the operation itself will be covered, but not the online medical opinion consultation. The majority of health insurance plans will not pay for the online medical opinion consultation. If your health insurance plan does not cover the online medical opinion consultation, you are responsible for payment of that fee.There is a $750.00 Consultation Fee that is charged to all Florida patients who have benign (not cancer) disease and go through our standard telephone consultation process. This fee provides you with unparalleled access to the world's most experienced Thyroid Cancer Surgeon. You may not have thyroid cancer, but if you require thyroid surgery you want the most expert thyroid surgeon and have him available to make the right decisions while doing your thyroid surgery. We charge this fee because nobody in the universe understands thyroid surgical diseases like we do and no surgeon, or surgical team can provide the expertise we can. You will be assigned to one of our coordinators who will be your contact person throughout this process (and for years after your operation). Your information will be gathered and organized from your doctors and then entered into our huge database. Dr. Clayman will call you on the phone and consult with you about your thyroid disease, putting it in context with thousands other patients that he has seen and cared for over more than 20 years. He will provide advice and consultation regarding your thyroid disease, your hormone status, your thyroid issues, and your general health related matters. The consultation is NOT just about your current thyroid issues, but includes long term follow-up regarding your hormones, bone health, calcium intake, and other related health issues for years to come. He has unparalleled expertise in this disease and can provide guidance to you for years. Once his patient, always his patient!
If you are retired or on a fixed income, let us know and we will make every effort to work with you on our online medical opinion consultation fees so you can afford it. We don't want money to be the only reason you don't get the best care in the world. Let us know!
IMPORTANT! Your insurance may not pay this consultation fee and if so, it will be your responsibility. This fee covers the organization of your chart and the phone consultation with Dr. Clayman. This fee is for your consultation before you get to Tampa to determine if you have a surgical thyroid disease, how severe it is, and what your best means of treatment would be. This consultation fee is also for the additional advice he will give you before and after your operation regarding your thyroid, hormone replacement, and wellness. We know a lot more about this problem than all of your other doctors combined, and we will freely consult with you and give you advice about your bones and other items AFTER the operation. Of course this fee saves you the costs of an office visit, a day of travel to and from Tampa, and a night in a hotel… and gets you the opinion of the most experienced thyroid surgeon in the world. However, this fee is NOT billable to your insurance company, so don't ask them to pay it--they will not--it is not their responsibility. If you think the fee is a lot of money, just think about the money and personal expense it will cost you to see another doctor or surgeon and even potentially have the wrong thyroid surgery or a complication associated with thyroid surgery that will last you a lifetime!!! Don't choose to have Dr. Clayman do your second or third thyroid surgery when you can have him for your first one! Think about the time and money wasted seeing doctors who have no thyroid tumor or surgery expertise in this area. NOTE: One-Half of the consultation fee is returned to you if we deem you do not have a thyroid condition such that surgery is not in your best interest.
There is a $1000.00 online medical opinion consultation Fee that is charged to all Florida patients who have any type of diagnosis of Thyroid Cancer (or suspicious of thyroid cancer based upon microscopic or genetic testing) and go through our review and online medical consultation process. This fee provides you with unparalleled access to the world's most experienced Thyroid Cancer Surgeon. You may not have thyroid cancer, but if you require thyroid surgery you want the most expert thyroid surgeon and have him available to make the right decisions while doing your thyroid surgery. We charge this fee because nobody in the universe understands thyroid surgical diseases like we do and no surgeon, or surgical team can provide the expertise we can. You will be assigned to one of our coordinators who will be your contact person throughout this process (and for years after your operation). Your information will be gathered and organized from your doctors and then entered into our huge database. Dr. Clayman will call you on the phone and consult with you about your thyroid disease, putting it in context with thousands other patients that he has seen and cared for over more than 20 years. He will provide advice and consultation regarding your thyroid disease, your hormone status, your thyroid issues, and your general health related matters. The consultation is NOT just about your current thyroid issues, but includes long term follow-up regarding your hormones, bone health, calcium intake, and other related health issues for years to come.
There is a $2000.00 online medical consultation Fee that is charged to all out of state patients who have any type of thyroid nodule, thyroid disease or Thyroid Cancer that has not been previously treated and go through our standard telephone consultation process. If you don't live in Florida, this is you.This fee provides you with unparalleled access to the world's most experienced Thyroid Cancer Surgeon. You may not have thyroid cancer, but if you require thyroid surgery you want the most expert thyroid surgeon and have him available to make the right decisions while doing your thyroid surgery. We charge this fee because nobody in the universe understands thyroid surgical diseases like we do and no surgeon, or surgical team can provide the expertise we can. You will be assigned to one of our coordinators who will be your contact person throughout this process (and for years after your operation). Your information will be gathered and organized from your doctors and then entered into our huge database. Dr. Clayman will call you on the phone and consult with you about your thyroid disease, putting it in context with thousands other patients that he has seen and cared for over more than 20 years. He will provide advice and consultation regarding your thyroid disease, your hormone status, your thyroid issues, and your general health related matters. We will obtain approvals from your insurance company and take care of the billings to your insurance company for the cost of the operation, however, insurance companies will not pay this chart prep, data entry, chart review, and phone consultation fee. Therefore, the fee for the consultation is 100% the responsibility of the patient. There are no exceptions to this $2000 Consultation Fee if you don't live in Florida, and this fee is the patient's responsibility--the insurance company will not pay this fee. This fee is NOT billable to your insurance company, so don't ask them to pay it--they will not--it is not their responsibility.The consultation is NOT just about your current thyroid issues, but includes long term follow-up regarding your hormones, bone health, calcium intake, and other related health issues for years to come.
Thyroid Cancer Re-Operations (Persistent or Recurrent Thyroid Cancer): If you require a second surgery (or third, fourth etc) for thyroid cancer because a previous surgeon(s) was unsuccessful then the online medical consultation fee" is $2500. Your insurance will not cover this consultation fee, so if you don't come here for your first thyroid surgery, please pick a good surgeon. The insurance WILL cover the cost of the operation. This "complex" online medical consultation fee is also applied to all patients that require a thyroid operation for benign thyroid tumors and have already had THYROID surgery in the past 20 years, but the fee will be $2000. This "complex" online medical consultation fee will be applied to ALL patients needing thyroid or neck surgery who have had a previous thyroid or neck operations regardless of what state they live in. This fee applies whether you have a phone consultation from California or you live down the street in Tampa. This type of surgery is much more complex than first-time neck operations and there is not doctor in the nation that has any experience which even approaches that of Dr. Clayman. Dr. Clayman has emphasized this in practice and has publications establishing his unparalleled results in these circumstances. No other surgeon in the world can do what he does. Your chart is much more complex. The disease is more complex. The decisions preoperatively and intra-operatively are much more complex. The decisions that need to be made prior to the operation and the planning of the operation is much more complex, and your long-term follow up is more complex. Dr. Clayman's experience with these patients is unparalleled. The preparation of these patients is significantly more difficult and takes considerably more time for Dr. Clayman to review and study. Of course, the extra time he will put into your problem almost always means he can find and remove all the thyroid cancer within the neck that other surgeons have failed to do. Our success rate for re-operations when other surgeons were unsuccessful is near 98%... and they also go home the morning following the surgery. Nearly 50% of Dr. Clayman's schedule is re-do thyroid cancer surgery... pick your surgeon wisely. Dr. Clayman will do approximately 2 re-operations every day because another surgeon couldn't address all of the cancer in the first or subsequent surgery. The $2500 online medical consultation fee is your responsibility and cannot be submitted to insurance for reimbursement. It also takes longer to put together the records for people who need a re-operation, so know that it may take 2 weeks to have a consultation if somebody else has already tried to cure your thyroid cancer.
Patients from Other Countries / and Patients Without Insurance
We operate on international patients every week. The total cost if you do not have insurance and must pay for a thyroid gland only operation out of pocket is $15,990. This includes the consultation fee, chart prep, surgeon fee, anesthesia, anesthesiologist, x-ray, hospital, laboratory, operating room, operating room team, and recovery room. Everything except travel and hotel. This is cheap! Remember, this is not $15,990 for the surgeons... this is for everything, and this is about half of what this operation will cost you at any other hospital in the US. There are no other hidden fees! There are no other surprises. If you have a thyroid cancer that requires the entire thyroid gland removed, the cost is $19,990. If your thyroid cancer has spread to the side lymph nodes of your neck or you have had a previous thyroid cancer surgery and were not cured and you have zero insurance, the cost is $24,990-$27,990 (depending upon the extent and locations of the disease within your neck. (The only thing not included in this cost is the expense of a PET/CT scan if so indicated)
Waiting Lists - When Can You Have Surgery by the World's Most Experienced Thyroid Cancer Surgeon?
Dr. Clayman performs thyroid surgery 5 days per week (2 operations 1 day per week (Fridays) and 4-8 operations the other 4 days per week. It takes about 7-10 days for your chart to be completed and for Dr. Clayman to review it (a little longer if you have already had an unsuccessful thyroid cancer operation somewhere else). The entire process from the time of submission of the online form to an operation is usually about 2 weeks. However, the winter months are our busiest and our schedule is booked solid for about 3 weeks, thus the time it takes to get through our process is about 1 week longer during the winter. The slowest part of the process is almost always getting your medical records sent to us. The good news: We are good at this because we do FAR more complex thyroid and thyroid cancer operations than anybody else in the world... and we'll get lots more experience before its your turn. The bad news: there are other thyroid surgery and thyroid cancer patients in front of you (we will be practicing on them!). Remember, we'll do more thyroid surgery and thyroid cancer operations during the few weeks you have to wait for your surgery than almost any other surgeon will do in their professional careers. Also remember, even though this may be a thyroid cancer, except in extremely unusual circumstances of the most aggressive thyroid cancer called anaplastic thyroid cancer, you've already had this disease for years... Yep, almost all patients have been growing a thyroid cancer within their neck for at least 4-5 years before somebody figures it out. There are some exceptions to getting in sooner; Dr. Clayman will see any anaplastic, poorly differentiated thyroid cancer, or vocal cord paralysis from thyroid cancer emergently within a day or so.
Why do you charge an online medical consultation Fee?
The operation will be paid for by your insurance. There are no hidden fees that we are not telling you about. We charge an online medical consultation fee to get you into our practice so we know what is best for you prior to you having surgery with us. We charge an online medical consultation fee because we put a lot more work into your case than any other doctor (before, during and after your operation). We understand your problem more than your other doctors do. Our experience in seeing all the various presentations of this thyroid surgical diseases is far more than any other doctors. Dr. Clayman has the highest surgical cure rates in the world. Importantly, he also has the lowest complication rates in the world. We don't waste your time doing dumb, unnecessary tests. We will help you understand your disease better than anybody else, and what it means going forward. We will give you advice that your other doctors can't and won't. Our entire thyroid surgery and thyroid cancer center team (nurses, techs, doctors, etc) have dedicated their life to this one disease and we don't do anything else. We don't have residents, fellows or interns helping or actually performing your operation. We don't have residents or interns performing your anesthesia. Nobody can provide you the level of expertise that we can.
All patients undergo an online medical comprehensive telephone consultation with Dr. Clayman prior to being evaluated at the Clayman Thyroid Cancer Center. Often times, these online medical consultations consume more time than the actual surgical procedures will consume. Your insurance will not pay this fee - If you are retired or on a fixed income, let us know and we will make every effort to work with you on our consultation fees so you can afford it. We don't want money to be the only reason you don't get the best care in the world. Let us know!.
THIS IS HOW YOU BECOME A PATIENT OF THE CLAYMAN THYROID CANCER CENTER:
NOTE: We prefer email communication whenever possible.
- 1. Fill out our secure New Patient Form. The form is SECURE and are encrypted for your safety (nobody can see your information)
Our New Patient Form will ask you the most important questions about your THYROID disease, the names of your doctors and other routine questions. The form also has a place for your insurance (if you have insurance). Just fill it out and hit the 'submit' button. We take almost all insurance types for the operation; Our insurance experts will know how much (if anything) you will have to pay out of pocket for the operation (co-pays and deductibles).
You do not need a referral. Medicare does not require a doctor's referral, and no insurance requires you to see an endocrinologist. We prefer that you have one but you don't have to see an endocrinologist to be evaluated by Dr. Clayman. If you require a referral to an endocrinologist, we will happily accommodate you.
- 2. Contact your doctor's office and have them fax your records to us. Specifically your TSH, T4, Thyroglobulin, Thyroglobulin antibody, (calcitonin and CEA), pathology/cytology results, ultrasound, CAT scan, PET scan and other xray reports, etc. This is usually the slowest part of the process. If you have had a CAT scan, PET scan or ultrasound, have images placed on a CD so that Dr. Clayman can review them. Dr. Clayman would much rather be able to view the images than trust the words of the interpretation of the images. Our fax number is: 813-972-0077. Click Here to PRINT A REQUEST FOR MEDICAL INFORMATION FORM Print this form, fill it out, and fax it to each of your doctor's offices that have anything to do with your thyroid related issues. Printing and sending this form to your doctors is the easiest way to get your records to us. Call them on the phone about a week later to follow up.
- 3. You will assigned to one of our "Coordinators" and her name is Caroline. Caroline will contact you by phone to introduce herself within a day or two after we receive your online form and tell you what else is needed. After the first introductory phone call, she will email you when we get the information from your doctors, and will email you again when your chart is completed and given to Dr. Clayman. You can expect several emails from your coordinator keeping you informed as your chart makes it way through our system. Caroline will also work with you regarding your insurance coverage and deductibles. You can expect an email from Caroline about your costs, your insurance coverage, your deductibles, etc. Note that we take virtually every insurance type to cover our surgical fees for the operation, hospital costs, anesthesia, etc. More about this and their emails are below in the section on: Verification of Insurance, Co-Pays and Deductibles.
- 4. Get ready for your phone consultation with Dr. Clayman. He will call you, discuss your thyroid tumor, thyroid surgery or thyroid cancer related issues, evaluation, and plan and answer any questions you may have. Remember, you will also spend time with Dr. Clayman the morning of your operation.
- 5. Book your operation with our office. After you have your phone consultation, Dr. Clayman will tell you to expect a phone call from his office to schedule your operation. After your online medical consultation with Dr. Clayman, he generates a document which outlines your history, symptoms, and presumptive diagnosis. Our office will be calling you to schedule usually within 2-3 days, so be prepared to discuss your wishes and travel plans. Just in case you don't have it already, our office phone number is 813-940-3130. Have your calendar plans considered and discussed with family prior to this conversation with you.
- 6. Make your travel arrangements. There is a lot more information about this on the bottom of this page that tells how long you stay in Tampa, when to come, when you can travel home, etc. We have hotels where most of our patients stay.
- 7. Watch some of our videos so you understand more about thyroid surgery and thyroid cancer surgery. We have developed this website just for you. It is full of information pertaining to the comprehensive set of diseases that the Clayman Thyroid Cancer Center manages. Watch the video that gives a Tour of the Clayman Thyroid Cancer Center at Tampa General Hospital so you can see where you are going and meet some of the people who will take care of you.
You can call us on the phone if you need to (we love communicating with our patients via email). Our office hours for new patients are 9:00 am to 4:00 pm EST Monday through Friday. During all other hours you can leave a message and we will return your call. Did we mention that we prefer email communication and if you call we won't be able to help too much until we see your history form, xrays, ultrasounds, pathology and your labs? Please do not call us with a generic question about thyroid disease or to see if you can be a patient of ours. If you have a thyroid surgical disease or a thyroid cancer, you can be a patient of ours!
Address for sending items via Federal Express / UPS / US Mail:
Clayman Thyroid Cancer Center
2352 Creel Lane
Wesley Chapel, FL 33544
Remember, the operations are performed at the New Thyroid Cancer Center at Tampa General Hospital not at our office. Out of town patients do not come to the office, but meet the doctors at the hospital the morning of the operation.
What We Need to Accomplish Prior to Your Thyroid Surgery
- 1. You will be assigned to Caroline as you coordinator. She will help collect information from your doctors and organize / chart / your TSH, T4, Thyroglobulin, Thyroglobulin antibody, (calcitonin and CEA), pathology/cytology results, ultrasound, CAT scan, PET scan and other xray reports, etc. into a format that allows us to compare you to thousands of people who have come before you. These ladies work together to organizing your chart--including your New Patient Form, and the records we get from your doctor(s). This chart will also include a patient check list and disease profile for you. Our online form is secure and encrypted to become extremely private; they cannot be seen by any hackers or prying eyes. The "secure certificate" can be seen on the form so have trust that your information will remain private using the most modern technology available. Read more about your financial responsibilities on our ABN form
- 2. We require the New Patient Form to be filled out for all patients, so as soon as you fill it out. Caroline will email you to tell you that your forms have arrived and they will remind you of the other information we need (x-rays, lab reports, etc). Once all of your clinical information is put together you will get a second email to tell you that the chart has been completed and was given to one of our doctors for review. It will usually take a couple of days to one week for Dr. Clayman to review your information and go over your case in detail and then call you on the phone to discuss your thyroid problem. He will tell you what he thinks the best options are. Every patient who has to travel to get to Tampa will get a personal phone call from Dr. Clayman. Make sure you give us your correct phone numbers. Because of our volume, the doctors call patients 7 days a week. They will make calls as early as 6:00 am or as late as 10:30 pm -- only if you want them to. At the bottom of the History form it will ask you if it is ok for them to call you early in the am or late at night. If not, just say no and they will call during more regular hours.
- 3. Verification of Insurance, Co-Pays and Deductibles. When your chart is given to one of our doctors for their review and phone consultation, they will also give your information to Tiffany, who will work on your insurance coverage and verification. If you are in our system and have filled out our secure New Patient form then you can email Tiffany questions you may have about insurance coverage. Trust us... this is very simple for almost all patients, so do not think you need to email them--they will automatically contact you when they have all your information figured out. If there is a problem, you will hear from us. Please know, all aspects of this operation are covered by insurance just like any other surgeons' office, with the exception of the consultation fee which is not covered by insurance. We are in-network and preferred providers for: Medicare, Cigna, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Humana, Aetna, United Healthcare, UHC, and almost all others.
- 4. Surgery Scheduling with Jolene or Joan. After your phone consultation with Dr. Clayman, he will begin the process to get you scheduled for your evaluation and planned surgery. You don't need to do anything at this time except plan to receive a phone call from Jolene for scheduling. In the event that you do not hear from Jolene or someone else within three days of your consultation with Dr. Clayman, you can always call directly to the office (813-940-3130). Jolene will help you choose a day for the operation and help coordinate the entire visit once things have progressed to this point. Know what dates work for you prior to this telephone conversation.
- 5. Book Your Hotel. We work with a handful of hotels in the area, but most closely with the two listed on our Hotel Page.
- 6. Watch the Movie of your operation! We have videos of many operations for you to watch. You can pick the surgery or potential operations that may apply to you. Don't be afraid. See the most incredible and delicate anatomy of the body and how skillfully the surgery can be performed by the most experienced thyroid surgeon and thyroid cancer surgeon in the world. There is no blood or blood loss. It will help you understand where the incision is, and what your incision will look like. You will see just how small and quick almost all operations are. The movies are only five minutes or so in length and are very educational.
- 7. Watch the video of the New Thyroid Cancer Center at Tampa General Hospital. See where you will valet park and meet the folks who will take care of you.
- 8. Go to our Learning By Videos page and watch all our cool videos.
What we need from you!
In order for us to confirm that you have a surgical thyroid disease (thyroid mass, thyroid cancer, hyperthyroidism) and that an operation is in your best interest (very high chance of cure + very low chance of complications = successful surgery), then we need some of your medical records sent to us. This shouldn't be too hard and usually can be done by you over the phone. Most of this cannot legally be done by us.
- 1. Send us a copy of all your lab work, x-rays (and doctor's notes). PRINT THIS PAGE TO SPEED UP THE PROCESS. Print this form and take it or fax it to your doctor's office. Specifically, we want to know where was the mass or masses located, what is your TSH level, what are your blood markers (thyroglobulin, calcitonin, and CEA), and what xrays have shown (you need to overnight the CD of xrays so Dr. Clayman can review them personally). Other labs will be helpful as well, so send them also.... We want a good, safe outcome, so we need to know all of your important medical history. The doctor (or doctors) which has been working up your thyroid problem will have "clinic notes" about you where he/she has been noting the thyroid problem and other problems you may have as well. Use the fax or mail addresses below. Again, its better to send us too much than to send us only part of the picture. Getting your doctor's office to send your information to us is usually the slowest part of this entire process.
- 2. Send us a CD copy of all of your x-rays. We do not usually need a copy of your ultrasound because so many are incomplete and don't tell the whole picture. If there may be a benefit, Dr. Clayman will ask you specifically to have a CD created of your ultrasound. To do this, go to (or call) the hospital or clinic where you had your xrays, and request that they be sent to Dr. Clayman at the following address: The Clayman Thyroid Cancer Center, c/o Dr. Gary Clayman, 1 Tampa General Circle, Box 1289, Tampa Florida 33606. If you haven't had a x-ray yet, do NOT get one. It will be a waste of your time and money. If you need an x-ray to determine the extent of your thyroid or plan your surgery, you will get one the morning before you go to the operating room. If you had a thyroid ultrasound test, do NOT send it unless Dr. Clayman specifically asks for it; we do our own highest resolution ultrasound when you come to see Dr. Clayman on every single patient!!! There are no exceptions. He needs this to know exactly where the problem is….and where it isn't.
- 3. Write a brief clinical history of yourself. This is best done after you fill out the New Patient Form. Tell us your problems in your own words and correlate them to what your doctor's have told you and the results of your lab tests. Give us a picture of your overall health as well as your thyroid problems. You will be able to email this to one of our Coordinators after they contact you by email to tell you that your chart has been opened. Email this to your Coordinator.
- 4. Make a list of your current medications. We will have you insert this list into our online form. Its easy! Remember, our form is secure.
- 5. Insurance coverage will be addressed by one of our insurance experts. We take most types of insurance, including Medicare. Since thyroid surgery and thyroid cancer surgery can sometimes change during your evaluation and even during surgery, your insurance may require pre-authorization. Medicare does not require pre-authorization, nor does it require a referral from an endocrinologist. Same for Aetna, Blue Cross, Blue Shield, Humana, Cigna, United Healthcare, UHC and most others. If you have a rare insurance that we don't take, we will write you a "Letter of Medical Necessity" that you can submit to obtain 'out of network' coverage. Our secure form makes the insurance submission and verification process easy. When you submit this form we will confirm your eligibility with your insurance company. Typically, this is all that you need to do. Insurance questions can be addressed via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please do not send insurance questions to Kelly, she is a nurse. Read more about your financial responsibilities on our ABN form...you will be required to check the box that says you read this when you fill out the online forms. Also, remember that the insurance will pay for the operation--it does not pay for the consultation. The consultation will be your responsibility as described above.
- 6. Pick a day for the procedure and then make travel arrangements. Jolene will help you decide which day will be best for you to come to Tampa and will book your operation at that time. Dr. Clayman operates as a team on all patients and typically performs over 14 operations per week. You will need to arrive in Tampa the afternoon before the operation and almost all patients can leave the morning after surgery. If you are flying home, Dr. Clayman requests that you remain in Tampa at least 48 hours following your operation. In rare circumstances, some patients may have a small drainage tube. This tube can be removed at home by your caring doctor or even a family member (it is a simple painless task), if it is so needed. We have arrangements with several local hotels where you can stay the night before and after. Usually it is best if you get into town the afternoon or evening prior to the operation. All pre-registration will take place over the telephone and no pre-op testing is required. You do not come by the clinic or the hospital ahead of time. You will come to the hospital early in the morning of the operation. We have our own center at the hospital where you will be surrounded by people with the same problem as you. You will get checked in, spend time with Dr. Clayman discussing your case, get a high resolution ultrasound study and possible fine needle biopsy, review the ultrasound and microscopic examination of any biopsies obtained, obtain and review any necessary x-rays (only if needed) which have been obtained (such as a CAT scan) and then meet with Dr. Clayman again, meet the rest of the operating team, go to the operating room and have your operation, go to the recovery room for about 1.5 hours and then go home or stay in our comfortable "extended recovery" environment overnight. That's it. If you are Dr. Clayman's first or second case of the day, you can expect to be out of the hospital on your way home within three hours or relaxing, walking and enjoying time with your family in our "extended recovery".
- 7. The morning of the procedure you will get a high resolution ultrasound study of your thyroid gland and entire neck!! This high resolution scan will provide a good 3-dimensional view of where your thyroid tumor is located and/or what the lymph nodes look like throughout your neck (equally importantly, it shows us where disease is NOT LOCATED). NOTE: Dr. Clayman does all of his own surgery and we never use residents or fellows who are learning to operate. Again, we don't have residents or fellows doing the operations. We don't use resident anesthesiologists either. There is nobody "learning" on your operation. This is very important to you.
- 8. Staying in town after the procedure. If you want to stay in a hotel the night of the procedure, that is ok and is what almost everybody who lives outside Florida does (if they don't have family or friends in the central Florida area). Important! As discussed in #7 above, The Clayman Thyroid Cancer Center has special deals with several local hotels which are fairly close by and quite inexpensive. Bottom line: There are many different types and extent of thyroid operations. Patients that have half of their thyroid gland removed can return home within two hours of their surgery. If you have your entire thyroid gland removed or have side of your neck surgery, you will enjoy our "extended recovery" with Home comforts in a hospital environment. Dr. Clayman prefers for those flying back home to wait 48 hours prior to getting on a plane. This really has nothing to do with the operation itself, more to do with the lowered risk of "motion sickness" caused by general anesthesia when you allow the anesthesia medications to be cleared from your system over this additional time.
- 9. What if I have problems? Who do I call? This is a common fear, but let's face it folks, if Dr. Clayman had patients with problems after the operation on any kind of frequent basis, he would not have been able to do this for over twenty years. People have been traveling to see Dr. Clayman from all over the world for decades and this same approach has worked all the time. We are very good at what we do and we will make sure you are treated with the utmost care and your safety is our greatest priority. Our biggest rule is "Safety Trumps Convenience". All of our patients get a detailed sheet of postoperative instructions and this is reviewed before surgery so you know exactly what to expect. All patients get Dr. Clayman's cell phone number --and are instructed to call him directly if they have any problems. We don't have an answering service. If Dr. Clayman is for some reason not available, one of his colleagues will immediately respond. If you go home, Dr. Clayman will call every patient the evening of the operation to make sure you understand what was found and to answer any more questions that you may have. If you happen to stay in our extended recovery, Dr. Clayman and his team will see you before you leave the hospital. Your doctors will get a copy of the operative report and pathology report. They will even get a photo of the surgery specimens. You can get one too! All of your doctors will also get a personal letter describing what was found and what was done. The bottom line is this: We have done so many of these operations that it has become a very straight forward procedure. We have made the complex quite simple for us. But don't get this wrong! This is not simple surgery that can or should be performed by anyone! Only true experts should be doing thyroid operations.
Why do we keep bringing up the quickness of our thyroid and neck operations? First of all... quick is dumb if it's not successful. The most important issue is safety, so always look at a surgeon's complication rates and success rates. If success rates are very high and complication rates are very low, then speed is the next most important factor. Speed is a function of repetition and competence. The more you do, the better you get. Just that simple.
Quick operations have less dissection which means less pain and less bleeding. Less dissection decreases the potential for complications and damage to other neck structures like nerves and blood vessels. Quick operations require less anesthesia. People get much less sick and are able to get on with their lives very quickly after a shorter operation. Quick operations are tolerated by people very well. The best surgeons are often the quickest... but not always! When choosing your surgeon--regardless of who it is--you must always fall back on what is most important... success rates and complication rates. You will usually see that the best and most experienced surgeons have all three: Very High Success Rates, Extremely Few Complications, and Speed.
Note, Dr. Clayman can't operate on everybody who needs thyroid surgery or has thyroid cancer. But, if thyroid surgery was an easy operation to perform, Dr. Clayman wouldn't see previously treated patients with nerves to the voice box cut everyday and no glands controlling calcium in the body --- you get the picture. That doesn't mean that there aren't great surgeons at many institutions, it simply means that you need to pick your surgeon wisely--one that performs thyroid cancer surgery at least several times per week. If thyroid surgery was easy for every surgeon to perform, we wouldn't be in business because nobody would have the need to travel across the country to have Dr. Clayman do their operation. If thyroid surgery were easy, surgeons and doctors from dozens of major universities from around the US wouldn't come to see Dr. Clayman to remove their tumor--or the tumor from their wife. Yet thyroid cancer surgery is easy if you do it every day. Thyroid and neck surgery is NOT easy if you do it once every couple of weeks. Dr. Clayman has done over 4000 thyroid cancer operations. They work together so you have the three most experienced parathyroid surgeons in the world. He can't do everybody's operation, but please, be wise and pick a surgeon that does thyroid cancer surgery at least once per week. If they can remove a thyroid cancer, they can remove a lump in your thyroid gland. Don't let someone take out your entire thyroid gland that doesn't do it at least several times per week. When you talk to Dr. Clayman, he will invariably tell you: "Don't make this so difficult, it is not hard. This is really straight forward!". It is easy for Dr. Clayman. This is all that he does.