Professor Kazuo Shimizu: the journey to be a thyroid surgeon
Meet the Professor

Professor Kazuo Shimizu: the journey to be a thyroid surgeon

Received: 08 May 2017; Accepted: 05 June 2017; Published: 08 August 2017.

doi: 10.21037/aot.2017.06.02


Prof. Kazuo Shimizu (Figure 1) is the Chairman of the Thyroid Examination Assessment Subcommittee, also being a member of the Oversight Committee for the Fukushima Health Management Survey. He is a thyroid surgeon and honorary director at Kanaji Hospital, and professor emeritus at Nippon Medical School, Japan. He is currently one of the members of Committee of Pharmacological Therapy for Thyroid Cancer of Japan Association of Endocrine Surgery (JAES) and Japanese Society of Thyroid Surgery (JSTS), Japan.

Figure 1 Professor Kazuo Shimizu.

I met Prof. Shimizu during the 2017 Annual Congress of ISOPES (International Society of Oncoplastic Endocrine Surgeons) in Conjunction with 3rd International Thyroid Oncological Conference of Zhejiang Province, in Hangzhou, China and was honored to do the interview with him. Please enjoy the video interview (Figure 2).

Figure 2 Professor Kazuo Shimizu: the journey to be a thyroid surgeon (1). Available online:

At the starting line of thyroid surgery

Prof. Shimizu first planned to become a general surgeon. Encouraged by his professor, he threw himself into researches and began his contact with thyroid gland. Afterward, he worked at the hospital and focused only on thyroid gland as the start of his thyroid surgeon career.

While talking about the motivation of being a thyroid surgeon, Prof. Shimizu thought being a thyroid surgeon requires more dedication and dynamic besides surgery. He especially mentioned that thyroid disease, for example, Grave’s disease, including other endocrine diseases, bio-nodules, functional nodule, etc., can be cured in high percentages by surgery. I can feel the pleasure and joy of Prof. Shimizu while he was reminding his motivation.

For Prof. Shimizu, patients can be cured or treated through surgeries is the most touching and the most attractive part of thyroid surgery. Not only for the patients but for surgeons as well.

Pioneer in thyroid surgery

Prof. Shimizu is always the pioneer in thyroid surgery. He and colleagues reported the first remote access thyroidectomy in 1998; recently, he is dedicating in endoscopic surgery. Thyroid endoscopic surgery is special of being mini invasive surgery. He admitted there are challenges of practicing endoscopic thyroid surgery. Most thyroid surgeries are at oral expose area, and more female patients are effect by thyroid diseases; this characteristic enhances people to concern more about cosmetic issue in thyroid surgery for its cosmetic effect to wounds. That is one of the reasons Prof. Shimizu especially pays more attention to the contribution of thyroid endoscopic surgery.

The balance between clinical work and academic work

During a typical work-week, Prof. Shimizu will spend 3 days at work. In his workday, he will meet patients in clinic and devote in 2–3 cases in the afternoon. This means Prof. Shimizu can accumulate 400–450 cases in a year, simply for thyroid gland.

Beside the clinical work, Prof. Shimizu spends his time on academic work. Until now, Prof. Shimizu has authored/co-authored more than 130 articles. Through conversation, we realized that he balanced both his clinical and academic well through his passion toward thyroid researches. His willing is to present his work through writing papers as preservation. “It is my duty to do both clinical and academic work”, Prof. Shimizu answered with firm expression on his face.

Prof. Shimizu also shared his advices for young surgeons. He encourages everyone to write a paper whenever they have an experience to give presentations, no matter in clinical work or research. He is now working on dedicating his technique and knowledge to more young surgeons to focus on the thyroid endoscopy surgery.


The author would like to extend the gratitude to Prof. Shimizu for sharing his opinions with us. Special thanks also go to my colleague Shu-Shiuan Mou in assistance of transcribing the interview.


Conflicts of Interest: The author has no conflicts of interest to declare.


  1. Zhou S. Professor Kazuo Shimizu: the journey to be a thyroid surgeon. Asvide 2017;4:312. Available online:

(Science Editor: Silvia Zhou, AOT,

doi: 10.21037/aot.2017.06.02
Cite this article as: Zhou S. Professor Kazuo Shimizu: the journey to be a thyroid surgeon. Ann Thyroid 2017;2:5.