Courtney Gibson, MD, MS, treats patients with both cancerous and benign conditions affecting the thyroid, parathyroid and adrenal glands. She is skilled in using the latest minimally invasive techniques, including retroperitoneoscopic adrenalectomy (similar to a laparoscopic procedure, but performed through the back).
Endocrine surgery is an especially gratifying specialty for a doctor, she says. “These are delicate procedures that require excellent manual dexterity. There are several important nerves in the head and neck area that have to be preserved in order to have good outcomes for our patients,” Dr. Gibson explains. “And, even with cases of cancer, patients typically have favorable results.”
In general, patients with cancers that affect the thyroid can expect long-term survival with the right treatment, she says. “While there are some exceptions to the rule, we’re now noticing that that even if you're over 45, generally speaking, your lifespan and prognosis following a thyroid cancer diagnosis is very good.”
Dr. Gibson is a cancer survivor herself, and she is often very open with patients about her history. She had Hodgkin’s lymphoma when she was in medical training, almost 10 years ago, and the disease is now in remission. “I think that gives me an added empathy, so that I can understand what people are going through,” Dr. Gibson says. “Knowing that I have personally dealt with a cancer diagnosis gives patients encouragement and hope.”
As a result of her own experience, she always takes the time to carefully explain, in layman’s terms, the diagnosis and potential treatments, so that patients and family members fully understand the disease and their treatment options.
In addition to her work as a surgeon, Dr. Gibson is an assistant professor of surgery (endocrine) at Yale Medicine, and regularly teaches and mentors medical students, surgical resident, and endocrine surgical fellows.