Distance Surgery Program

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We deliver effective, minimally invasive treatments in a caring environment. Call 310-267-7838 to connect with an expert in endocrine surgery.

Program Overview

The UCLA Endocrine Surgery Distance Program was created to meet the demands of our increasing patient population living outside of the Los Angeles metropolitan area.

We have refined this program over the past decade in order to deliver world-class outcomes and concierge level service. Each day, we receive patient inquiries from across the globe.  These range from straightforward cases (for example, a patient from Las Vegas in need of initial parathyroid surgery) to highly complex cases (a patient from overseas with a genetic syndrome in need of adrenal surgery). We aim to complete preliminary chart review and respond to each request within 48 hours.

Santa Visits Dr. Livhits

Santa Visits Endocrine Center UCLA
Santa Visits Endocrine Center UCLA

Minimally Invasive Parathyroidectomy

I’m writing to commend UCLA Health, the UCLA Endocrine Center & the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center for my recent successful minimally invasive parathyroidectomy. Dr. Masha Livhits and Dr. Lauren Orr reviewed the pre-op material submitted by my General Practitioner in Alaska, personally examined, and successfully operated on me less than a week ago. And, I’m now back in North Pole, Alaska, enjoying an early Spring.

Read more about Santa's story

The map below depicts hometown locations of distance program participants as of March, 2019: 1092 patients, 1062 domestic, from 35 states (and territories) of the US, 30 international from 17 countries.


In order to be eligible, patients must live more than 2 hours’ drive away (without traffic) from UCLA and be in good general health. The program’s strategy involves maximum utilization of suitable medical services in the participant’s local area, followed by a concentrated period of specialty services (imaging, consultations, pre-operative evaluation, and surgery) performed at UCLA spanning one week or less. Effective communication between our office, the patient, and referring physician is essential.


Our goal is to minimize out-of-pocket medical expenses, travel time, and overall impact on the patient’s schedule.  The typical workflow, which involves creating a preliminary plan at a distance which is then refined after further workup at UCLA, is shown below.

Thorough preparatory work is required to ensure a smooth experience.  After initial contact, our office will provide a brief checklist outlining the records and tests results necessary to establish the diagnosis. All outside biopsy specimens are routinely reviewed by a UCLA endocrine pathologist.

Endocrine Center Distance Surgery Map
Endocrine Center Distance Surgery Map

Sample schedule

*If you would like to participate in our distance program, please advise us several weeks in advance of your arrival, preferably when you first contact us. It is essential that we reserve slots for the operating room and medical imaging facilities to make your experience as smooth as possible.

A typical itinerary is shown below. Some patients may require hospitalization beyond 1 night depending on their condition.  You can expect that our staff will create a customized itinerary for you.

AMTravel to UCLAImaging (e.g. 4D Parathyroid CT)SurgeryStay locallyReturn travel
PMTravel to UCLAEndocrine Surgery Consultation
(including surgeon-performed ultrasound in clinic)
Spend night in hospital or local hotelStay locallyReturn travel


Many of our patients choose to stay at the UCLA Tiverton House or UCLA Guest House.

A word about traveling for surgery

Endocrine Center Distance Flow Chart
Endocrine Center Distance Flow Chart

Many US patients who have traveled to UCLA for surgery from outside of Southern California/Nevada area did so because they have close relatives living in Los Angeles.  If you live near a major University medical center, it is likely that an endocrine surgery specialist can be found there. Traveling for surgery is sometimes necessary if you have an unusual condition that requires specialized medical care. Most endocrine operations do fall into this category, as high-volume centers are known to have improved patient outcomes compared to non-specialty centers for thyroid, parathyroid, and adrenal surgery.

That said, we strongly feel that patients should have surgery while staying near family and other social supports whenever possible. In other words, stay close to home if you can. Though minimally invasive techniques have shortened recovery time from surgery by a large margin, surgery (even "minor" surgery) remains a physically and emotionally stressful event. Thus, it goes without saying that patients benefit from being near family and friends.

Specialized endocrine surgery centers exist in most major U.S. cities and tend to be clustered around universities. Most people in the U.S. should not have to travel more than a few hundred miles to reach one of these centers. To find an endocrine surgery center near you, please feel free to contact us by phone or email - we will be happy to help you find the resources that you seek.

Follow up

Follow up is performed remotely using our telemedicine program.

Please contact our office if you would like to participate in this program.