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Alberto de Hoyos, M.D. Answers Questions On General Thoracic Surgery

Alberto de Hoyos, M.D. Answers Questions On: General Thoracic Surgery

Are there any notable areas of your practice that make it unique in North Texas?

One of the most common problems we deal with as thoracic surgeons is lung cancer, which is one of the most common cancers in men and women and the most common cause of cancer-related death in both genders. Treatment of lung cancer is guided by the stage of the tumor at the time of diagnosis. For early-stage lung cancer, stages I and II, surgery is the treatment of choice. For more advanced tumors, in stages III and IV, a combination of chemotherapy and radiation is the best approach.

One of the major advantages we offer at UT Southwestern is that we have an NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center. This allows us to have a truly multidisciplinary approach to the evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of all patients with chest malignancies. We work together with our colleagues in medical and radiation oncology, interventional pulmonology, gastroenterology, radiology, and pathology to offer the most appropriate and individualized recommendations.

What do you think patients need to know or might misunderstand about seeing a cardiothoracic surgeon?

Cardiothoracic surgery is in reality the combination of two different specialties. Cardiac surgeons deal primarily with diseases of the heart, such as coronary artery disease (for which a coronary artery bypass procedure may be required), valvular heart disease (such as mitral or aortic stenosis or insufficiency, for which a valve replacement or repair may be required), and aortic diseases. Thoracic surgeons deal with noncardiac thoracic diseases, such as lung and esophageal cancer; tumors of the pleura, chest wall, and mediastinum; and benign tracheal and esophageal conditions such as tracheal stenosis or gastroesophageal reflux diseases.

What are specific treatments you offer?

Although as general thoracic surgeons we perform traditional open thoracotomies for specific indications, in most cases, we are able to perform video-assisted thoracic surgery, including robotic surgery for the majority of patients with lung and esophageal cancer and other thoracic malignancies. It is important, however, to emphasize that the surgical procedure itself is the same as we do with the open approach. What is different is the access to perform the surgical procedure.

Minimally invasive surgery allows us to perform the operation with smaller incisions in the skin and less tissue trauma, resulting in less incisional pain, less time in the hospital, and less time to recover than with the traditional open incisions. All these advantages are realized without compromising the surgical and oncologic outcomes.