Minimally Invasive and Robotic Endocrine Surgeon
As a highly skilled surgeon and accomplished researcher, Ohwofiemu Nwariaku, M.D., is at the forefront of breakthroughs in treating disorders of the endocrine system – diseases affecting the pancreas and adrenal, parathyroid, and thyroid glands. This includes evaluating and treating patients with health concerns ranging from Cushing’s syndrome to complex thyroid cancers.
Dr. Nwariaku is among the most experienced endocrine surgeons in North Texas, with specialized expertise in robotic and minimally invasive surgery. He is recognized worldwide for his work in advancing innovative surgical approaches to successfully remove benign and malignant adrenal tumors.
“With laparoscopic adrenalectomies, we typically need to make only three or four very small incisions to remove adrenal tumors. It’s safe for patients to go home from the hospital a day or two after the surgery,” Dr. Nwariaku says.
“Also, this type of minimally invasive endocrine surgery offers the benefit of shorter recovery times – days versus weeks. And within a few months of procedures, scars are small and barely noticeable, compared to the large abdominal scars patients had in the past,” he adds.
Dr. Nwariaku says another innovation that’s optimizing care is adrenal vein sampling for primary aldasteroma. This procedure increases the ability to determine when a tumor must be excised or when leaving it will not be harmful to a patient, thereby reducing the need for unnecessary surgery.
One of the hallmarks of Dr. Nwariaku’s work with patients is communication, which he says is key to defining effective surgical treatment strategies, as well as helping ease fears and anxiety.
“I actively provide information to my patients and their loved ones and answer any questions they have. I want them to understand what to expect from their surgery and postoperative care,” he says.
Dr. Nwariaku leads a multidisciplinary team of researchers at UT Southwestern who recently discovered a specific protein that plays a role in medullary thyroid cancer, a rare and often fatal disease. The team is now working to identify therapies to target the protein and inhibit the growth of medullary thyroid cancer cells.
When he’s not in the operating room, meeting with patients, or in the lab, Dr. Nwariaku oversees UT Southwestern’s Office for Global Health as Associate Dean. The office was established in 2010 to direct and develop training and research initiatives with partners around the world.
Dr. Nwariaku has published approximately 100 peer-reviewed journal articles, 15 book chapters, and three books. He has lectured on endocrine surgery and global health topics around the world.