Patients at Wellstar have access to highly specialized surgeons and cutting-edge technology and techniques for a variety of complex cancer surgery.
Cancer Surgery at Wellstar
Wellstar’s combination of surgical expertise and technology gives people with cancer more treatment choices for better outcomes. Surgeons here specialize in a variety of complex open and minimally-invasive procedures. We have high-definition surgical endoscopy and 13 state-of-the-art surgical robots, and constantly update the technology.
While surgery is an important facet of cancer treatment, our surgeons believe the best cancer care is provided in a team setting. Our cancer surgeons collaborate with medical oncologists and radiation oncologists to provide a consensus of care. Together, we recommend what is best for each patient.
Leading expertise & experience
Here, you have access to leading surgical oncologists, surgeons and neurosurgeons who are experienced in various types of cancer surgery. Patients take comfort in learning our surgical oncologists lead the state and metro Atlanta in a number of complex procedures. Wellstar’s surgeons are among the most experienced in lung cancer, prostate cancer, gynecological cancers, gastrointestinal cancers, breast cancer and brain and spine cancer, to name a few.
Wellstar is the first health system in Georgia that is a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network. As a result, our cancer surgeons can request eConsults — virtual second opinions — from Mayo Clinic specialists at no additional cost to patients.
Wellstar’s rich surgical history
Wellstar surgeons are often involved in research that leads to the development of innovative procedures, surgical instruments and technology. It began in 1988, when the first minimally-invasive cholecystectomy in the United States was performed by surgeons from Wellstar Kennestone Hospital. This started a worldwide transition from open surgery to minimally-invasive surgery. Since then, Wellstar surgeons have used their expertise to develop minimally-invasive surgery for a variety of conditions including colon cancer and pancreatic surgery.
Our surgeons were also the first in Atlanta to perform minimally-invasive lung cancer surgery. As a result, Wellstar’s thoracic surgeons have trained hundreds of specialists—many from other Atlanta-based cancer treatment facilities—on minimally-invasive thoracic surgery.
Wellstar’s urologists who care for patients with prostate cancer have the largest and most diverse experience in laparoscopic and robotic urology in the Southeast. One of these physician leaders completed Georgia’s first laparoscopic prostate removal without robotic assistance. Three years later, the same surgeon performed Georgia’s first prostate removal using a robotic surgery system. Our specialists continue to teach other surgeons from around the world how to perform specialized techniques related to minimally-invasive procedures for prostate cancer.
Wellstar surgeons perform more than 10,000 minimally-invasive procedures every year, including robotic surgery, laparoscopic surgery and Video Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery (VATS). These procedures are performed through very small incisions using tiny high-definition 3D cameras and surgical instruments, which fit into incisions smaller than an inch. The benefits of minimally-invasive surgery include less pain, less scarring, a lower infection risk and shorter recovery time. Cancers we commonly treat with minimally-invasive surgery include:
- Colon cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Gynecological cancers
- Liver cancer
- Lung cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Stomach cancer
Robotic Whipple & Robotic Pancreatectomy
Our surgical oncologists lead the state with experience in robotic pancreatectomies and lead metro Atlanta in experience for the robotic Whipple, a highly complex surgery for people with pancreatic cancer. One major benefit of having an experienced surgeon perform the Whipple robotically is a faster recovery. Patients who have the Whipple also have vascular reconstruction, which requires a highly synchronized procedure among a multidisciplinary team of surgeons.
Wellstar surgeons are also highly experienced in another complex minimally-invasive procedure for esophageal cancer. When they perform a robotic esophagogastrectomy (also known as esophagectomy), they remove the esophagus and part of the stomach. Having this procedure performed robotically is associated with decreased pulmonary complications. It is important for patients to have a surgeon who is highly experienced in this intricate robotic surgery.
Cytoreductive Surgery Combined with HIPEC
Another type of procedure performed by highly specialized surgeons at Wellstar uses a combination of heat and chemotherapy administered during surgery to help patients with certain types of advanced abdominal cancer who typically have very limited treatment options. Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemoperfusion (HIPEC) is used to treat patients with cancer that has spread to the abdominal cavity; usually primary colon, appendix, gastrointestinal and ovarian cancers. This procedure is significantly more effective than surgery alone, thus offering many patients—who otherwise would have limited options—an improved prognosis and quality of life.
Intraoperative Radiotherapy (IORT)
One of our newest surgical advancements is the addition of intraoperative radiotherapy (IORT) for patients who are candidates for breast-preserving surgery. Wellstar is one of a few health systems in Georgia to offer this advanced procedure, which is a combination of oncological surgery and radiation therapy.
This intense localized radiation is performed during surgery to treat specific types of cancer, such as breast cancer. Synchronizing their procedures, a radiation oncologist applies high dose radiation therapy while the surgeon moves or shields surrounding tissue and nearby organs. The benefit of IORT is that it spares surrounding tissue.