Hackensack Meridian JFK University Medical Center Thoracic Surgeons Perform the First Robotic Resection Surgery for Malignant Thymoma with Intraoperative Installation of Heated Chemotherapy   

Hackensack Meridian JFK University Medical Center Thoracic Surgeons Perform the First Robotic Resection Surgery for Malignant Thymoma with Intraoperative Installation of Heated Chemotherapy

July 13, 2023

Surgeons in the Division of Thoracic Surgery at JFK University Medical Center first in the State of New Jersey to perform this surgery

Surgeons affiliated with Hackensack Meridian JFK University Medical Center’s Advanced Lung and Airway Center successfully performed the first robotic resection of malignant thymoma, a cancer of the thymus gland, followed by installation of heated chemotherapy into the chest. This is the first time this surgery has been performed in the State of New Jersey.

Faiz Y. Bhora, MD, FACS, professor and regional chair of surgery, co-director advanced lung and airway center and chief of thoracic surgery-central region, Hackensack Meridian Health and Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine was the lead surgeon who performed this surgery.  “The procedure involved a patient who has a malignant thymoma involving the chest. This had spread to multiple areas throughout the patient's chest.  Removal of all visible tumor in a minimally invasive fashion followed by the administration of chemotherapy directly at the site of the tumor provided this patient with the best prognosis for long term survival” said Dr. Bhora.  The operation was unique in that all tumor from the lining of the chest wall and from the lung was resected using the DaVinci Robot during the initial part of the operation via incisions no bigger than a few millimeters.  Once the visible tumor had been removed, a cocktail of two chemotherapy drugs was heated to 41 degrees and circulated in the patient's chest for one hour using a perfusion machine in a very controlled fashion to kill all microscopic cancer cells.  This is a complex technical operation that requires a team of surgeons, medical oncologists, and operative and postoperative medical providers to orchestrate and execute.  

“Our elite team of thoracic surgeons including Dr. Kostantinos Poulikidis and Dr. Syed Shahzad Razi and highly experienced medical oncologist Dr. Richard Schuman each played a critical role.  It takes a team of the most highly skilled professionals to successfully perform operations of this complexity and magnitude. We are fortunate to have such a team at JFK University Medical Center where we can now offer patients the most advanced operations for cancers of the lung, esophagus, mediastinum and chest wall” says Dr. Bhora. “We are delighted that our patient recovered very well and was discharged from the hospital in less than 3 days”.  

“JFK University Medical Center is on its way to becoming a regional leader in outstanding thoracic surgical care provided by surgeons who are skilled in the latest techniques,” said Amie Thornton, president, chief hospital executive, JFK University Medical Center.  “Dr. Bhora has been leading the way and recruiting the best talent, providing the newest, safest, and most technologically advanced surgeries to our patients, the community and the region.” 

The Advanced Lung and Airway Center at JFK University Medical Center takes care of the most complex patients by providing the full spectrum of diagnostic and treatment options for both cancerous and non cancerous conditions that impact the larynx, airway and lungs.  Adds Dr. Bhora “I am particularly delighted to welcome Dr. Robert Lebovics, who I had worked closely with in the past and who will serve as Co-Director of The Advanced Lung and Airway Center at JFK University Medical Center.”  Dr. Lebovics is a national leader in the management of complex airway diseases and will partner with Dr. Bhora and a team of nationally and internationally-renowned experts who have pioneered treatments and conduct research in areas of tracheal bioengineering and 3D printing of the trachea. 

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