Memorial Sloan Kettering surgeon Richard Wong

Richard J. Wong, MD, FACS

Surgeon

Titles

Chief, Head and Neck Service; Jatin P. Shah Chair in Head and Neck Surgery and Oncology

Clinical Expertise

Thyroid Cancer Surgery; Oral Cavity Cancer; Salivary Tumors; Neck Tumors; Melanoma; Parathyroid Tumors; Laryngeal and Pharyngeal Cancers; Sinus and Skull Base Tumors; Vocal Cord Medialization

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New Patient Appointments

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Mon–Fri, 8:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m., (Eastern time)
Accepted Insurance Providers

Dr. Wong accepts the following list of insurance providers. Select your insurance provider to see more details.

Aetna

Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with Aetna HMO, POS, and PPO plans. Aetna does not include us in any of the plans you can purchase through the insurance exchanges or through Medicare. Please ask your insurance if you need a one-time referral. MSK has an agreement with the Aetna Transplant Program for all Aetna's commercial products.

Blue Distinction Center

Memorial Sloan Kettering is a designated Blue Distinction Center for bone marrow transplant and CAR-T.

Health Insurance Exchanges

We understand that there may be many complexities involved with insurance coverage purchased through the health exchange network of the Affordable Care Act. We’re here to help. If you have questions about how your care will be covered by an insurance provider, or need help navigating a change in coverage, please call us at 646-227-3378; if you are not a resident of New York, you can call us at 866-248-1274. Our team is here to listen to your concerns and assist you in any way we can. We want our care to be as accessible and affordable for as many people as possible.

CIGNA

Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with CIGNA's HMO, POS, and PPO plans. CIGNA does not include us in any of the plans you can buy through the insurance exchanges.

  • If you are a New York State resident: Please ask your insurance if you need a one-time referral.
  • If you live outside of New York State: Please ask your insurance if you have in-network access to Memorial Sloan Kettering.
EmblemHealth (including GHI, HIP, ConnectiCare, and Vytra)

Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with EmblemHealth’s PPO, EPO, POS, HMO plans. EmblemHealth includes GHI, HIP, Vytra, and ConnecticCare (in NYS Only). You must bring a referral from your Emblem primary care doctor to your first appointment. In-network participation exceptions include:

  • Emblem’s HIP Commercial Millennium, Select Care and Enhanced Care Prime networks is not in-network with Memorial Sloan Kettering.
  • Please call Emblem to confirm if your specific plan is in-network.

For information regarding Memorial Sloan Kettering’s participation with Emblem’s Medicare Advantage Plans, please refer to the Medicare & Medicaid page

Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield

Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield (Wellpoint) of New York Indemnity, HMO, EPO, PPO, POS and Medicare Advantage plans, with the following exceptions:

  • Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield does not include us in any of the plans you can buy through the insurance exchanges.
  • Please call Empire BCBS to confirm if your specific plan is in-network with Memorial Sloan Kettering.
HealthFirst

Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with HealthFirst’s commercial products; these commercial products are not purchased on the insurance exchanges.

HealthSmart

Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with HealthSmart’s Accel, HSPC, and HPO networks.

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey

For our NJ locations, Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with most Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey plans for individuals, families, and small businesses. Horizon members with Blue Card Access (there would be a suitcase logo on the front of the card) may have access to our NY locations.  Please call Horizon to confirm if your plan is in-network in NY. 

Humana

Memorial Sloan Kettering is a designated Center of Excellence by Humana.

Interlink Health Services

Memorial Sloan Kettering is a designated Center of Excellence by Interlink Health Services.

Lifetrac

Memorial Sloan Kettering is a designated Center of Excellence by Lifetrac.

MagnaCare

Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider for all MagnaCare health plans except those products you can buy through the insurance exchanges.

Medicare & Medicaid

For information about Medicare and Medicaid, please visit this page

Multiplan/Beech Street/PHCS

Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with some Multiplan/Beech Street/PHCS plans. Contact your insurance carrier to find out if your plan provides in-network access to Memorial Sloan Kettering.

Memorial Sloan Kettering is a designated Center of Excellence by Multiplan.

Multiple Insurance Plans

If you are covered by more than one insurance plan, you will want to determine your benefits from both plans. First, you need to determine which one is your primary insurance provider by contacting your employee benefits office or your insurance carriers. After you find out which is your primary insurance provider, you should then contact your insurance carrier to determine if you have access to Memorial Sloan Kettering.

MVP

Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with some MVP plans. Contact your insurance carrier to find out if your plan provides in-network access to Memorial Sloan Kettering.

New York State Employee Health Insurance Plan (Empire Plan)

Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider for New York State employees who have enrolled in UnitedHealthcare's Cancer Resource Services. If you have the Empire Plan, you should call Cancer Resources Services at 866-936-6002 to verify and enroll in this coverage.

Oscar

Memorial Sloan Kettering is in-network with Oscar’s Circle Plus Network, a part of its Small Group Broad line that is offered only to select small business groups. Oscar does not include Memorial Sloan Kettering as an in-network provider for any of its individual plans. Please confirm eligibility with your insurance carrier. 

Other Blue Cross Blue Shield plans

Most Blue Cross Blue Shield plans include Memorial Sloan Kettering as an in-network provider. Contact your insurance company to confirm if Memorial Sloan Kettering is in-network.

Other Coverage Options

We have agreements with several insurance companies that may provide additional coverage for cancer patients. These benefit programs include:

  • AXA Assistance USA
  • Beech Street
  • Integrated Health Plans
  • National Health Administrators
  • National Preferred Provider Network
  • UnitedHealthcare's Cancer Resource Services
  • United Resource Network
  • Veterans Choice Program
Oxford

Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with Oxford’s Freedom and Liberty plans as well as the Metro Plan (which is only offered to small business groups and no longer offered as individual plans). Please confirm with your insurance if you need a one-time referral. Note: Oxford’s Medicare Managed Care plan — Secure Horizon — does not include Memorial Sloan Kettering as an in-network provider. Oxford does not include us in any of the plans you can buy through the insurance exchanges.

World Trade Center Health Program

Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with the World Trade Center Health Program.

QualCare

Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with QualCare's PPO and HMO/POS network.

Specialty Care Management

Memorial Sloan Kettering is a designated Center of Excellence by Specialty Care Management.

TRICARE

Hospital and physician services may be covered by TRICARE. Please call your TRICARE plan to confirm coverage at Memorial Sloan Kettering.

UnitedHealthcare

Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with UnitedHealthCare's HMO, POS, and PPO plans. Please confirm with your insurance if a one-time referral is needed.

UnitedHealthCare's Medicare Managed Care plan does not include Memorial Sloan Kettering as an in-network provider.

United does not include us in any of the plans you can buy through the insurance exchanges.

Memorial Sloan Kettering is a designated Center of Excellence by UnitedHealthcare.

Contact and Location

Locations map
Find a Convenient Location

Memorial Sloan Kettering has locations throughout New York City, Long Island, New Jersey, and Westchester. These locations offer many services, including screening, chemotherapy, and medical testing.

See all locations

About Me

Education

MD, Harvard Medical School

Residencies

Otolaryngology - Harvard Medical School

Fellowships

Head and Neck Surgical Oncology - Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Board Certifications

Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery

I am a surgeon who has worked at Memorial Sloan Kettering for over 20 years to care for people with thyroid and head and neck cancers. I have a particular expertise and interest in the surgical removal of thyroid cancer, nodal metastases from thyroid cancer, and recurrent thyroid cancer. I also have a strong interest in treating oral cancer, salivary gland tumors, melanoma, parathyroid adenomas, and other cancers involving the head and neck region.

Read more

As Chief of MSK’s Head and Neck Service, it is my privilege to lead a team of thirteen expert surgeons who perform all aspects of head and neck oncologic surgery. We are committed to providing our patients with the optimal treatment for their cancer, while also focusing on maximizing their quality of life. We collaborate closely with a renowned multidisciplinary team of physicians from endocrinology, nuclear medicine, radiation oncology, medical oncology, plastic surgery, dentistry, thoracic surgery and other disciplines to individualize each patient’s treatment plan for their particular condition.

I am the principal investigator of a grant from the National Cancer institute supporting the training of head and neck surgeons at MSK. My research laboratory is also funded by the National Cancer Institute. We focus on developing a better understanding of the complex molecular and cellular interactions between tumors and nerves. Our team is working to identify novel molecular targets that may be treated to improve outcomes for our patients.

Awards and Honors

  • America's Top Doctors (book series): 12th Edition, 13th Edition, 14th Edition
  • Top Doctors: New York Metro Area (book series): 16th Edition, 17th Edition, 18th Edition
  • New York Magazine: Top Doctors (2012-2022)
  • America's Top Doctors for Cancer (book series): 8th Edition, 9th Edition, 10th Edition
  • Castle Connolly America's Top Doctors (digital guide, 2016-2021)
  • Top Doctors New York Metro Area (digital guide, 2016-2022)
  • Castle Connolly America's Top Doctors for Cancer (digital guide, 2016-2021)

Colleagues

Doctors at Memorial Sloan Kettering work as teams, with specialists from all different areas. This allows us to consider all your needs together, and to give you the best possible care.

See all Head and Neck Service doctors

Clinical Trials

Smiling doctors in the lab
Find a Clinical Trial for You

Memorial Sloan Kettering's doctors and scientists are constantly developing new treatments for cancer. MSK is typically running hundreds of clinical trials at a given time.

You may be able to participate in a clinical trial even if you are new to MSK. Search our online directory to find trial information and see more about who can participate.

Search clinical trials

Research and Publications

View Dr. Wong's Lab

  1. Deborde S, Gusain L, Powers A, Marcadis A, Yu Y, Chen CH, Frants A, Kao E, Tang LH, Vakiani E, Amisaki M, Balachandran V, Calo A, Omelchenko T, Jessen KR, Reva B, Wong RJ. Reprogrammed Schwann cells organize into dynamic tracks that promote pancreatic cancer invasion. Cancer Discov. 2022; Jul 26; CD-21-1690. PMID35881881.
  2. Chernichenko N, Omelchenko T, Deborde S, Bakst RL, He S, Chen C-H, Gusain L, Vakiani E, Katabi N, Hall A, Wong RJ. Cdc42 mediates cancer cell chemotaxis in perineural invasion. Mol Cancer Res. 2020;18(6):913–925. PMCID: PMC7272295 
  3. Deborde S, Yu Y, Marcadis A, Chen CH, Fan N, Bakst RL, Wong RJ. An in vivo murine sciatic nerve model of perineural invasion. J Vis Exp. 2018;134:56857. PMCID: PMC5965264 
  4. Bakst RL, Xiong H, Chen CH, Deborde S, Lyubchik A, Zhou Y, He S, McNamara W, Lee SY, Olson OC, Leiner IM, Marcadis AR, Keith JW, Al-Ahmadie HA, Katabi N, Gil Z, Vakiani E, Joyce JA, Pamer E, Wong RJ. Inflammatory monocytes promote perineural invasion via CCL2-mediated recruitment and cathepsin B expression. Cancer Res2017;77(2):6400–6414. PMCID: PMC5831809 
  5. Deborde S, Omelchenko T, Lyubchik A, Zhou Y, He S, McNamara WF, Chernichenko N, Lee SY, Barajas F, Chen CH, Bakst RL, Vakiani E, He S, Hall A, Wong RJ. Schwann cells induce cancer cell dispersion and invasion. J Clin Invest. 2016;126(4):1538–1554. PMCID: PMC4811155 
  6. He S, He S, Chen CH, Deborde S, Bakst RL, Chernichenko N, McNamara WF, Lee SY, Barajas F, Yu Z, Al-Ahmadie HA, Wong RJ. The chemokine (CCL2-CCR2) signaling axis mediates perineural invasion. Mol Cancer Res. 2015;13(2):380-390. PMCID: PMC4336839 
  7. He S, Chen CH, Chernichenko N, He S, Bakst RL, Barajas F, Deborde S, Allen PJ, Vakiani E, Yu Z, Wong RJ. GFRα1 released by nerves enhances cancer cell perineural invasion through GDNF-RET signaling. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014;111(19):E2008–17. PMCID: PMC4024863 
  8. Bakst RL, Lee N, He S, Chernichenko N, Chen CH, Linkov G, Le HC, Koutcher J, Vakiani E, Wong RJ. Radiation impairs perineural invasion by modulating the nerve microenvironment. PLoS One. 2012;7(6):e39925. PMID: 22768171
  9. Gil Z, Cavel O, Kelly K, Brader P, Rein A, Gao SP, Carlson DL, Shah JP, Fong Y, Wong RJ. Paracrine regulation of pancreatic cancer cell invasion by peripheral nerves. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2010;102(2):107–118. PMCID: PMC2911041
  10. Gil Z, Rein A, Brader P, Li S, Shah JP, Fong Y, Wong RJ. Nerve-sparing therapy with oncolytic herpes virus for cancers with neural invasion. Clin Cancer Res. 2007; 13(21):6479-85. PMID: 17975160 

Selected Book Chapters
“Cancer of the nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses.” Wong RJ, Kraus DK. In: American Cancer Society Atlas of Clinical Oncology: Cancer of the Head and Neck.  Shah JP, ed. London: BC Decker; 2001: 204-224.

“Incidence, etiology, diagnosis and staging of head and neck cancer.” Wong RJ, Shah JPIn: The Practice of General Surgery. Bland KI, ed. Philadelphia: WB Saunders; 2002: 249-256.

“Morphophysiology of the salivary glands.” Wong RJ, Randolph G. In: Otolaryngology: Basic Science and Clinical Review. Van de Water TR, ed. New York: Thieme; 2005: 634-642.

“How to evaluate surgical margins in mandibular resections.” Wong RJ. In: Pearls and Pitfalls in Head and Neck Surgery. Cernea CR, ed. New York: Karger; 2008: 64-66.

“How to evaluate surgical margins in mandibular resections.” Wong RJ. In: Pearls and Pitfalls in Head and Neck Surgery: Practical Tips to Minimize Complications. 2nd ed. Cernea CR, ed. New York: Karger, 2012.

Publications on PubMed

Visit PubMed for a full listing of Dr. Wong’s journal articles. Pubmed is an online index of research papers and other articles from the US National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health.

See all on PubMed

Disclosures

Doctors and faculty members often work with pharmaceutical, device, biotechnology, and life sciences companies, and other organizations outside of MSK, to find safe and effective cancer treatments, to improve patient care, and to educate the health care community.

MSK requires doctors and faculty members to report (“disclose”) the relationships and financial interests they have with external entities. As a commitment to transparency with our community, we make that information available to the public.

Richard J. Wong discloses the following relationships and financial interests:

No disclosures meeting criteria for time period


If you’re a patient at MSK and would like more information about your doctor’s external relationships, please talk with your doctor.

The information published here is for a specific annual disclosure period. There may be differences between information on this and other public sites as a result of different reporting periods and/or the various ways relationships and financial interests are categorized by organizations that publish such data.


This page and data include information for a specific MSK annual disclosure period (January 1, 2021 through disclosure submission in spring 2022). This data reflects interests that may or may not still exist. This data is updated annually.

Learn more about MSK’s COI policies here. For questions regarding MSK’s COI-related policies and procedures, email MSK’s Compliance Office at [email protected].


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