University of Wisconsin–Madison

Dawn M. Elfenbein, MD, MPH, FACS

Associate Professor
(608) 263-1387

Clinical Sciences Center
600 Highland Avenue
Madison, WI 53792-7375


  • MD, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, 2006
  • MPH, University of North Carolina, 2009
  • Research Postdoctoral Fellowship, Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research, 2010
  • General Surgery Residency, Duke University Hospital, 2013
  • Endocrine Surgery Fellowship, University of Wisconsin, 2015
  • Surgical Education Research Fellowship, Association for Surgical Education, 2015

Clinical Specialties

Dr. Elfenbein is a board certified general surgeon with fellowship training in Endocrine Surgery. She treated disease of the thyroid, parathyroid and adrenal glands. She has a particular interest in treatment decision making in benign inflammatory thyroid conditions such as Graves’ disease, but is an expert in all aspects of endocrine surgery including thyroid cancer. She uses several state of the art techniques to treat surgical endocrine disorders (radioguided parathyroidectomy, minimally invasive parathyroidectomy, laparoscopic adrenalectomy, retroperitoneal adrenalectomy, minimally invasive thyroidectomy, four-gland parathyroid exploration, and treatment of recurrent or persistent hyperparathyroidism).

Research Interests

Dr. Elfenbein’s main research focus is on surgical education. She is working to address clinical teaching effectiveness across the spectrum of medical student and resident education. This work uses a multidisciplinary, collaborative approach to develop teaching effectiveness tools that are reliable and valid, but also easy to put into place.

She also conducts clinical research working on Graves’ disease and other inflammatory thyroid diseases, hyperparathyroidism, thyroid cancer, and adrenal disorders.

Recent Publications

    • Assessing American Thyroid Association Guidelines for Total Thyroidectomy in Graves' Disease.
    • Akram S, Elfenbein DM, Chen H, Schneider DF, Sippel RS
    • J. Surg. Res. 2019 Aug 08; 245: 64-71
    • [PubMed ID: 31401249]
    • Substernal goiter: when is a sternotomy required?
    • Nankee L, Chen H, Schneider DF, Sippel RS, Elfenbein DM
    • J. Surg. Res. 2015 Nov; 199(1): 121-5
    • [PubMed ID: 25976851]
    • Faculty evaluations of resident medical knowledge: can they be used to predict American Board of Surgery In-Training Examination performance?
    • Elfenbein DM, Sippel RS, McDonald R, Watson T, Scarborough JE, Migaly J
    • Am. J. Surg. 2015 Jun; 209(6): 1095-101
    • [PubMed ID: 25686512]
    • Is intraoperative parathyroid hormone testing in patients with renal insufficiency undergoing parathyroidectomy for primary hyperparathyroidism accurate?
    • Sohn JA, Oltmann SC, Schneider DF, Sippel RS, Chen H, Elfenbein DM
    • Am. J. Surg. 2015 Mar; 209(3): 483-7
    • [PubMed ID: 25556028]
    • Is intraoperative parathyroid hormone monitoring necessary with ipsilateral parathyroid gland visualization during anticipated unilateral exploration for primary hyperparathyroidism: a two-institution analysis of more than 2,000 patients.
    • Rajaei MH, Oltmann SC, Adkisson CD, Elfenbein DM, Chen H, Carty SE, McCoy KL
    • Surgery 2014 Oct; 156(4): 760-6
    • [PubMed ID: 25239313]

All Publications on PubMed