Moffitt Cancer Center Performs First-Time Procedure

March 12, 2009

Tampa, FL – Dr. Miguel Alvelo-Rivera performed the first-ever thoracoscopic pneumonectomy at Moffitt Cancer Center and in the state of Florida. It was performed on a patient with lung cancer and severe emphysema. The minimally invasive nature of the procedure allowed for the patient to have a quick recovery and a four-day hospital stay. The procedure was the first in a new series of minimally invasive approaches to thoracic cancers that Alvelo-Rivera and his team will be implementing at Moffitt.

Alvelo-Rivera and Dr. Matthew Biagioli of radiation oncology performed the first minimally invasive sub lobar resection with intraoperative adjuvant brachytherapy. This is a technique devised for patients who have poor pulmonary function because of severe emphysema and cannot undergo major pulmonary resection, or patients who can’t afford to lose a lung.

“This treatment addresses the main concern regarding sub lobar resections for cancer, which is the slightly higher chance of local recurrence,” Alvelo-Rivera said. “By treating the margin with local radiation, the treatment starts immediately after surgery, does not require daily visits to the hospital and allows the patient to conserve pulmonary function by minimizing the amount of lung tissue removed.”

The technique involves inserting a small camera in the chest, identifying the area with the tumor and removing it. The area around where the tumor used to be is treated with an absorbable mesh containing radiation seeds.

Alvelo-Rivera specializes in minimally invasive thoracic surgery including lung and esophageal resections.  

About H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute

Located in Tampa, Florida, Moffitt Cancer Center  is the only Florida-based cancer center with the NCI designation as a Comprehensive Cancer Center for its excellence in research and contributions to clinical trials, prevention and cancer control. Moffitt currently has 15 affiliates in Florida, one in Georgia and two in Puerto Rico. Additionally, Moffitt is a member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, a prestigious alliance of the country’s leading cancer centers, and is listed in U.S. News & World Report as one of “America’s Best Hospitals” for cancer. Moffitt’s sole mission is to contribute to the prevention and cure of cancer.