Thoracic Surgery Services at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center




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Feature Article

When Lung Disease Strikes,
Fighting Back Requires Expert Medical Care

Taine Pechet, MD
December 2004

Think about it: Each time you breathe, your lungs are exposed to all kinds of pollution, cigarette smoke or any other microscopic particles that happen to be floating in the air at the moment.

Although they are an extraordinarily resilient organ, the lungs are not immune to disease; in fact, lung cancer has become one of the most common and deadliest cancers in this country.

To fight lung cancer and other serious illnesses of the lungs or chest, there is no doubt that patients need the most sophisticated treatments currently available.

At Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, our team of nationally- renowned thoracic surgeons use innovative approaches to treat a variety of conditions of the lungs, esophagus and chest, including cancer, gastroesophageal reflux disease and hiatal hernia. With an emphasis on minimally invasive techniques and a commitment to researching conditions for which no effective solution currently exists, our thoracic team is considered a leader in the field.

There are several key elements that make our surgical services outstanding:

  • Our state-of-the-art, minimally invasive operating room is one of only a few in the United States that is equipped with high-definition video. If you have ever watched high-definition TV, you can literally see the difference an extremely sharp image makes, and that type of clarity is heightened in the operating room.

    During a minimally invasive thoracic surgery, four flat panel screens descend from our OR ceiling to display internal images captured by a tiny, angled camera that has been inserted through a small incision in a patient’s chest. The crisp internal images that appear on the high-definition videos provide us with an enhanced view of a patient’s anatomy, which is extremely vital when we perform delicate, minimally invasive surgical tasks on you or someone you love. Because lung tissues are multi-layered and absorbent like a sponge, the high-definition video and other specialized equipment help us to locate microscopic components buried within the organ and to dissect diseased sections of the lung.
  • Our team works closely with the medical hardware and software industry to develop cutting-edge thoracic instrumentation and technology. This unique relationship allows us to stay on the forefront of scientific advances and, in fact, contribute to the creation of groundbreaking thoracic surgical methods and trends.
  • We recently opened a Thoracic Intermediate Care Unit (TICU), one of only a handful in the nation and the only one of its kind in the Philadelphia region. Studies show that post-surgery thoracic patients greatly benefit from specialized care, and our TICU is thoughtfully designed to promote healing and ambulation in a timely manner. The TICU is staffed by experienced nurses, respiratory therapists and physical therapists that are specialists in critical care and features a “mini-gym” stocked with walkers, treadmills and exercise bicycles to help thoracic patients resume normal activities after surgery.
  • In addition to diseases or cancers affecting the lungs, esophagus and chest, we also treat illnesses such as hyperhidrosis, a condition that causes excessive sweating and, in some cases, drastically limits a person’s ability to work or socialize. By cutting the sympathetic nerve in the chest during a minimally invasive procedure, we can instantaneously stop the severe sweating and help patients promptly resume a normal lifestyle.

The lung is a durable organ, but when thoracic disease strikes, the best way to fight back is with a team of experienced professionals who are recognized as national leaders in the field of thoracic medicine.

At Presbyterian, our goal is to provide seriously ill patients with the most advanced thoracic treatments currently available in America and to pioneer groundbreaking research that may some day produce new avenues for cure.

Taine T.V. Pechet, MDTaine T.V. Pechet, MD, is Vice Chief, Department of Surgery at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center. Dr. Pechet is board certified in both general surgery and thoracic surgery.




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