Thoracic & Cardiovascular Surgery
Ara Vaporciyan, M.D.
The Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery department primarily serves patients with cancers arising in the chest including lung, esophageal and mediastinal tumors, as well as metastases to the chest from other tumor sites. Efforts are directed at improving treatment results by utilizing minimally invasive techniques, enhanced recovery, opiod avoidance and combining surgery with chemotherapy, immunotherapy or targeted therapies, and radiation therapy.
The department uses novel surgical techniques to ensure the best results for patients.
Novel surgical techniques
- Minimally invasive surgery (thoracoscopic and robotic surgery)
- Organ-sparing resections (lung segmental and sleeve operations; esophageal endoscopic mucosal resection)
- Endobronchial and esophageal ultrasound for cancer staging
- Pancoast tumor resection with or without vertebrectomy
- Complex chest wall resection and reconstruction
- Jejunal and colonic interposition for esophageal reconstruction
- Heated intraoperative chemoperfusion for pleural cancers
Conventional open procedures
- Wedge resection
The department has a team of surgeons and researchers. They provide complete care to patients in the Thoracic Center at MD Anderson and at MD Anderson in Katy, Sugar Land and The Woodlands. See below for a glimpse of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery volumes and outcomes, and read more about the department's advances, innovations, research and programs in the first-ever Division of Surgery Surgical Outcomes Fiscal Year 2015 Report.
Volumes and outcomes
The graph shows FY15 data for the top 25 NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers individually listed in the UHC clinical database.
Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery Programs
The department hosts an active Lung Cancer Screening Program for current and former smokers to help detect lung cancer at its earliest stage, when treatment is most effective.
The Vascular Surgery Program provides diagnostic evaluation, medical, endovascular and operative care to cancer patients and survivors with various forms of vascular disease.
The department's robust minimally invasive surgery program is focused on reducing the pain and trauma associated with conventional open surgery. The program routinely performs video assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) for lung, thymic and esophageal cancers. Approximately 80% of early stage lung cancer is resected using minimally invasive techniques. A recent review of nearly 1,000 MD Anderson cases revealed that these techniques cut in half the number of postoperative complications. Minimally invasive surgery is also part of the department's enhanced recovery pathway.
The Enhanced Surgical Recovery Program in Thoracic Surgery results in reduced symptoms, improved function and quicker return to normal activities and additional needed treatment. This program uses the principles of optimal perioperative care pathways as the foundation of their program. These principles include avoiding long periods of fasting, reducing patient anxiety through education and expectaion setting, minimizing narcotic use and using goal-directed fluid therapy. Thoracic Surgery, in particular, has implemented elements such as preventive, multimodal and regional pain control, early ambulation and return to nutrition, modulation of inflammation and prevention of post-operative nausea.
The department’s Endoscopic Mucosal Resection Program treats early stage esophageal cancer. Such techniques avoid the need for removing the esophagus and replacing it. This means patients can continue to swallow and eat normally. This multidisciplinary program has been very successful at proving organ-sparing techniques are appropriate for early stage disease and result in a high cure rate.
Ara Vaporciyan, M.D.
Chair, Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Where you go first matters. Surgery often provides the greatest opportunity for cure, but if not done properly also carries the greatest risk.
We provide cancer care at several locations in the Greater Houston Area, including Katy, Memorial City, Sugar Land and The Woodlands.
Our thoracic and cardiovascular surgeons Mara Antonoff, M.D., and Boris Sepesi, M.D., provide care to patients at these locations. Their services partner with our main campus in the Texas Medical Center, so patients can receive the same expert care where it is most convenient for them.
Surgery Department Administrator
For appointments, call
the Thoracic Center at 713-792-6110.