Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Surgical Oncology

surgical oncology
Our surgical oncologists are experienced in performing complex procedures to treat advanced stage cancer.

Our department

The Department of Surgical Oncology at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) provides a variety of advanced surgical procedures for the treatment of cancer and cancer-related symptoms.

Since many of our patients come to us with complex and advanced stage cancers, the surgical oncology team is experienced in providing advanced surgical procedures for all types and stages of disease.

Your surgical team

Our surgical oncology team includes surgical oncologists and surgeons with advanced training in various surgical techniques, as well as nurses, surgical technicians, anesthesiologists and other cancer professionals with diverse expertise in treating all types and stages of cancer. We work closely with you to find surgical options best suited to your individual needs and preferences, so you can feel confident in your treatment decisions.

  • Prior to surgery, we will explain what you can expect, answer your questions and help you feel comfortable with an upcoming procedure.
  • During surgery, our pathologists can evaluate tissue samples as they are removed and provide pathology results immediately. This helps ensure that your surgical oncology team is able to remove as much cancerous tissue as possible during surgery, reducing the likelihood that you will have to undergo multiple surgeries.
  • After surgery, your care team will work with you to help prevent and manage any side effects. You may also have reconstructive surgery to restore appearance or function.

Innovations in surgery

Our experienced surgeons have performed thousands of procedures and will discuss the surgical options that are best suited to your individual needs. We provide minimally invasive surgical procedures, which help reduce side effects and shorten recovery.

Whether a patient is a candidate for surgery depends on factors such as the location, size, type, grade and stage of the tumor, as well as age, general health and other factors. The goal of surgery may be to remove the tumor (e.g., excisions, resections, debulking surgery), reconstruct a part of the body (e.g., restorative surgery), and/or to relieve symptoms such as pain (e.g., palliative surgery).

For some patients, surgery may be combined with other cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy or hormone therapy, administered before or after surgery to stop cancer growth, spread or recurrence.

Early in the treatment planning process, we plan for and proactively manage side effects from surgery. Our nutritionists, rehabilitation therapists and naturopathic clinicians work together with your surgical oncologist to support your healing and quality of life. Our reconstructive surgeons perform procedures to restore the body's appearance and function, often at the time of surgery or following surgery.

The surgical team at Southwestern

The Department of Surgical Oncology at CTCA® at Southwestern Regional Medical Center (Southwestern) consists of surgical oncologists, a thoracic surgeon, plastic and reconstructive surgeons, a neurosurgeon and a head, neck and microvascular reconstructive surgeon, as well as anesthesiologists, surgical technicians, physician’s assistants, and wound care-certified registered nurses.

Head and neck surgery

Our otolaryngologist Dr. Bradley Mons specializes in advanced surgical procedures for head and neck cancers, including laryngectomies, neck dissections, thyroidectomies/ parathyroidectomies, parotidectomies, sinonasal tumor excisions, endoscopic sinus surgery and other ENT and head/neck surgeries.

Breast surgery

Led by our medical director of surgery and surgical oncologist Dr. Huan Vu, our surgical oncologists perform a variety of surgical procedures to treat breast cancer. Whenever possible, our surgical team performs breast-sparing surgery, such as lumpectomies and partial breast mastectomies. The team partners with our plastic and reconstructive surgeon to offer oncoplastic and breast reconstructive surgeries, including nipple-sparing mastectomies.

Hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy

For some patients who have advanced surface spread of cancer within the abdomen, our surgical oncologist Dr. Pragatheeshwar Thirunavukarasu can provide hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) following surgery. In this procedure, we deliver a heated, sterilized chemotherapy solution to the abdomen to penetrate and destroy cancer cells that remain in the abdomen.

Neurosurgery services

At Southwestern, we can treat neurological cancers with advanced surgical procedures through our in-house Neurosurgery Services Program. Neurosurgeon Dr. Clinton Baird uses innovative surgical techniques, like intraoperative electrophysiology “brain mapping” and intraoperative neuronavigation, which help to enhance the safety of treatment.


Our plastic/reconstructive surgeons, led by Dr. Rola Eid, specialize in reconstruction techniques during or following surgery to help improve appearance, reduce scarring/disfigurement, or rebuild/replace removed or injured body parts.

During breast reconstruction, our breast cancer surgeons use the SPY Elite® Intraoperative Perfusion Assessment System to capture images which help evaluate the blood flow in vessels and circulation in tissue. For example, this imaging technology helps our doctors evaluate whether there is sufficient blood flow to the involved tissue when performing flap reconstructions.

Robotic surgery

Our surgeons have expertise in robotic surgery using the da Vinci® Surgical System for:

  • General surgery procedures
  • ENT procedures
  • Minimally invasive thymectomies
  • Mediastinal mass excisions
  • Lung resections with better lymph node dissection 
  • Gynecologic procedures (e.g., hysterectomy)
  • Urologic procedures, especially prostatectomies

Thoracic surgery

Our thoracic surgery program treats diseases of the chest, including the heart and lungs, and assesses or repairs damage to the lungs caused by cancer, injury or pulmonary disease. Thoracic Surgeon Dr. Peter Baik is trained and experienced in minimally invasive thoracic procedures, including laparoscopic, video-assisted thoracic surgery and robotic surgery. In 2015, under Dr. Baik's leadership, Southwestern became the first hospital in Oklahoma to be listed by Intuitive Surgical® as an experienced hospital in thoracic robotic surgery.

Improving quality of life during and after surgery

While removing malignant tumors is the primary objective, the surgical oncology team at Southwestern also understands the importance of quality of life. Through various procedures, your surgical oncologists strives to help you relieve pain (e.g., palliative surgery), maintain dignity (e.g., reconstructive surgery), and preserve normal function (e.g., limb-sparing surgery).

Throughout your treatment, you will also receive supportive care services, such as nutrition therapy, naturopathic medicine, pain management, oncology rehabilitation, and mind-body medicine. These therapies can help reduce cancer-related fatigue, functional impairments, and other side effects so you can maintain your quality of life during treatment.

The Advanced Surgical Recovery Program (ASURE) at Southwestern

The Advanced Surgical Recovery (ASURE) program at Southwestern includes surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, physical therapists, pain management physicians, registered dietitians, naturopathic clinicians and other supportive care clinicians. "The ASURE program is designed to help patients recover from surgery faster, with shorter hospital stays and fewer complications," says Dr. Christopher Schmidt, Medical Director of Anesthesiology at Southwestern. "For cancer patients trying to complete treatment, it may also mean getting through their journey faster."

"We collaborated on the ASURE program by combining the surgical components of enhanced recovery with the anesthesia and post-operative components into one unified pathway," says Dr. Peter Baik, Thoracic Surgeon at Southwestern. "By working together, we aim to improve patient functionality, while reducing their reliance on narcotics, and supporting the healing process."

Read more about the ASURE program at CTCA.

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