Advances in Care
At the Mount Sinai Department of Thoracic Surgery, our surgeons work closely with other specialists in the health system. This means that you, our patients, benefit from the insights of multiple experts. We partner with medical oncology, pulmonary medicine, radiology, interventional radiology, gastroenterology, neurology, and ear, nose and throat specialists. We treat the full spectrum of thoracic (chest) diseases and conditions, including:
- Barrett’s esophagus
- Carcinoid tumors
- Cancer of the trachea
- Chest wall tumors
- Esophageal cancer
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Germ cell tumors
- Hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating)
- Lung cancer and pleural diseases
- Mediastinal tumors
- Neuroendocrine tumors
- Swallowing disorders
- Thymoma and other thymic tumors
We use a variety of screening and diagnostic tests, including:
- Advanced endoscopic techniques to detect early lesions and early recurrence
- Imaging such as computed tomography, positron emission tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging with ultrasensitive resolution
Treatments We Offer
We use the traditional treatments:
- Surgery: Perform various procedures to fix or remove tumors
- Radiation: Uses high doses of carefully directed radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors
- Chemotherapy: Uses one or more medications to kill cancer cells, shrink tumors, and relieve symptoms
In addition, we use a variety of innovative therapies including:
- Biologics: New drugs that are manufactured using live organisms
- Brachytherapy: Delivers radiation therapy by inserting radioactive material near the tumor. It is especially helpful if you have breathing difficulties.
- Laser therapy and stenting: Laser therapy burns away portions of a tumor. Stenting makes the effects of laser therapy last longer. We also use stents to open the airway or esophagus when we cannot use laser therapy.
- Minimally invasive lung cancer surgery: Especially useful for small tumor nodules of the lung
- Photodynamic therapy (PDT): Designed to treat certain tumors of the airway and esophagus, especially if you have difficulty breathing or swallowing. PDT uses a light-activated drug in combination with a medical laser.
- Radiofrequency ablation: An alternative approach to tumor removal
- Small catheter approach: Treats malignant pleural effusions and rarely requires a hospital stay
- Stereotactic radiosurgery: The latest treatment for lung cancer. The Novalis® Shaped Beam Surgery System device delivers precise, focused radiation to tumors, minimizing damage to surrounding tissue.
We also use behavioral medicine, genetic testing, and environmental medicine. These therapies enable us to bring new hope to patients who have been labeled incurable.
Mount Sinai's Thoracic Oncology Program takes a team approach. We often work with:
- Medical oncologists
- Oncology-dedicated nurses
- Physical and occupational therapists
- Plastic surgeons
- Psychiatrists and psychologists
- Radiation oncologists
- Respiratory therapists
- Social workers
- Thoracic surgeons
We pride ourselves on coordinating all of these team members to bring you the best possible care.
After you are finished with active treatment, we will continue to follow you. Our goal is to keep you healthy and functional. We can coordinate rehabilitation services for you, either in our facilities or closer to your home. Our nutritionists and social workers are also available to you after you finish active treatment.
Regardless of the condition, we focus on you. We use the latest and safest treatments. Our skills and expertise enable us to treat advanced and challenging cases. Some of our milestones, research activities, and procedural advances are:
- Lung cancer: We offer video-assisted thoracoscopic lobectomy and advanced minimally invasive techniques.
- Esophageal cancer: We screen for esophageal cancers in people at risk. We use the most advanced protocol-driven treatments, including minimally invasive approaches. One of the first successful operations on the esophagus, the esophagectomy, was performed at The Mount Sinai Hospital by Howard Lilienthal, MD, in 1924. We continue to perform this procedure with excellent results.
- Mesothelioma: Mount Sinai surgeon Irving J. Selikoff, MD, was the first to see the link between mesothelioma and asbestos exposure. His efforts led to the Selikoff Center for Occupational and Environmental Medicine, a health care advocacy organization targeting the working class. The Selikoff Center works closely with the World Trade Center Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program. Mount Sinai continues to explore new approaches to treat mesothelioma. Recent developments include extrapleural pneumonectomy and pleurectomy/decortication procedures.
Strides in Minimally Invasive Care
At Mount Sinai, we use minimally invasive approaches whenever possible. These techniques help you recover more quickly, decrease side effects, and cause less pain than traditional approaches. Procedures we use most often include:
- Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) lobectomy: The faculty at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai has led national trials for this procedure. VATS is particularly helpful with early-stage lung cancer.
- Robotics: Mount Sinai has pioneered use of robotic surgery to treat thoracic diseases. We continue to develop less invasive procedures using this technology.
- Endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS) and navigational bronchoscopy: Our experts perform biopsies with these minimally invasive techniques in cases that once demanded operative procedures.
- Screening for lung cancer: We are researching the use of low-dose CT scans to detect lung cancer and other health complications, such as cardiovascular disease and chronic pulmonary disease.