At the end of 2006, Cleveland Clinic Florida launched new comprehensive Multidisciplinary Thoracic Oncology program. The multidisciplinary team is composed of a thoracic surgeon, pulmonologists, medical and radiation oncologists, radiologists, pathologists, gastroenterologists, and numerous support staff. Together they specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of lung and esophageal cancer as well as other thoracic malignancies such as chest wall tumors, thymic tumors, and lymphoma.
With a minimally-invasive approach, patients that require surgery benefit from smaller incisions, less postoperative pain, and shorter hospital stays. Patients undergoing thoracoscopic surgery better tolerate postoperative treatments such as chemotherapy compared to those having more traditional “open” surgery.
We are pleased to offer our patients new, innovative treatments such as photodynamic therapy (PDT). For patients with cancer in the main airways or in the esophagus who cannot undergo surgical resection, PDT is an endoscopic (no incisions) light-based treatment used to destroy the tumor. This typically involves a few outpatient treatments over one week and allows patients to breathe or swallow easier depending on the location of the tumor.
In conjunction with the Interventional Pulmonary service, tracheobronchial stenting can be used when there is airway obstruction from a variety of causes.
Other new thoracic surgical services include:
- Thoracoscopic lung biopsy for interstitial lung disease with an average length of stay of less than 24 hours.
- Thoracoscopic sympathectomy for hyperhidrosis. This is performed on an outpatient basis.
- Thoracoscopic decortication for empyema or parapneumonic effusion.
- Thoracoscopic first rib resection for thoracic outlet syndrome.
- Thoracoscopic resection of mediastinal masses including thymectomy for myasthenia gravis.
For patients with tumors in the major airways, a lung-sparing procedure called “sleeve lobectomy” may be utilized to preserve pulmonary function. In the past, the surgical alternative would have been a pneumonectomy—the removal of the entire lung.
In conjunction with the Division of Radiation Oncology, stereotactic radiosurgery is used to treat certain thoracic malignancies. This new modality provides great accuracy and precision in the delivery of radiation to the planned target with fewer treatment sessions than more traditional external beam radiation.
Corroborating with the Division of Interventional Radiology, radiofrequency ablation may be used to treat lung tumors in patients who are not candidates for surgery. This allows for a minimally invasive approach to the treatment of primary and metastatic lung cancers.
The Section of Thoracic Surgery is pleased to offer these latest advances in the management of chest disorders to the patients of South Florida. Approximately 90% of our procedures are performed minimally invasively with a relatively brief hospitalization.