Advances in Care

Through an integrated approach to clinical care and research, the Thoracic Surgery team at Mount Sinai employs the latest and safest treatments for lung diseases and cancer, esophageal cancer and swallowing disorders. Some of our cutting-edge milestones, research activities, and procedural advances include the following:

  • Lung Cancer: Our approach to lung cancer care focuses on patients first, providing not only VATS and advanced minimally invasive techniques, but also an ability to treat advanced and challenging cases that require skills and expertise found in few centers.
  • Esophageal Cancer: Our team is unique in our abilities to screen for esophageal cancers in people at risk, treat early cancers less invasively, and provide the most advanced protocol driven treatments available. One of the first successful operations on the esophagus, the esophagectomy, was performed at Mount Sinai by Howard Lilienthal, MD, in 1924. Since then, the Division of Thoracic Surgery has been performing this procedure with excellent results.
  • Mesothelioma: Considered the “father of occupational medicine,” Irving J. Selikoff, MD, was the first to determine the association between mesothelioma and asbestos exposure. His tireless research efforts at Mount Sinai led to the Selikoff Center for Occupational and Environmental Medicine, which advocates health care for the working class and works closely with the World Trade Center Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program. This tradition of cutting-edge developments continues with Raja M. Flores’ work using different modalities in the treatment of mesothelioma, such as the extrapleural pneumonectomy and pleurectomy (decortication) procedures. The Division of Thoracic Surgery is also currently involved in several ongoing studies with the goal of discovering new treatment options for mesothelioma.

Strides in Minimally Invasive Care

  • VATS (video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery) lobectomy: Mount Sinai faculty have led national trials for this minimally invasive procedure, which is most often the surgical approach of choice, particularly for patients with early-stage lung cancer. Dr. Flores is also one of the foremost educators of other surgeons about the VATS lobectomy.
  • Robotics: Dr. Flores is a pioneer in robotic surgery to treat thoracic diseases and continues to develop less invasive procedures using this new technology.
  • EBUS and navigational bronchoscopy: Our experts are now able to perform biopsies with these minimally invasive techniques in cases that once demanded operative procedures.
  • Screening for lung cancer: Having recently hosted the International Conference on Screening for Lung Cancer, physicians at The Mount Sinai Health System presented new research demonstrating that use of low-dose CT scans has proven to be effective in detecting not only lung cancer, but also other health complications, such as cardiovascular disease and chronic pulmonary disease.