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Surgery

Department of Surgery

Our department

The Department of Surgery at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA), Chicago, provides comprehensive surgical care, including advanced surgical techniques and a wide range of minimally invasive procedures.

Our surgeons have expertise in the following areas:

  • Surgical oncology (general surgery)
  • Neurosurgery
  • Breast surgery
  • Plastic and reconstructive surgery
  • Otolaryngology (head and neck surgery)
  • Urology
  • Thoracic surgery


US News High Performance Hospital

Your surgical team

The CTCA® Chicago surgical team includes surgical oncologists and surgeons with advanced training in various 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 tailored to your individual needs and preferences, so you can feel confident in your treatment decisions.

Our experienced surgeons have performed thousands of procedures and will discuss the surgical options available to you based on your diagnosis, needs, treatment goals and other factors. If deemed appropriate for your treatment needs, we offer minimally invasive surgical procedures, such as robotic and laparoscopic surgery, which are designed to help reduce side effects and shorten recovery.

Whether you are a candidate for surgery depends on factors such as the location, size, type, grade and stage of the tumor, as well as your 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, during or after surgery to help 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 other integrative care clinicians work together with your surgeon to support your healing and quality of life.  

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 evaluate tissue samples as they are removed and provide pathology results immediately. This helps your surgical oncology team 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 side effects. You may also have reconstructive surgery to restore appearance or function.

Explore surgical procedures at CTCA

Innovations in surgery

The surgery team at CTCA Chicago provides complex and innovative surgical care. Learn more about these innovative procedures our surgeons perform:

The Advanced Surgical Recovery Program (ASURE) at CTCA Chicago

The Advanced Surgical Recovery (ASURE) program at CTCA Chicago includes surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, physical therapists, pain management physicians, registered dieticians 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 Hatem Halabi, MD, FACS, Assistant Director of the CTCA GI Cancer Institute. “For cancer patients trying to complete treatment, it may also mean getting through their journey faster.”

“We collaborated on the ASURE programming by combining the surgical components of enhanced recovery with the anesthesia and post-operative components into one unified pathway,” says Dr. Halabi. “By working together, we aim to improve patient functionality while reducing their reliance on narcotics.”

Learn more about the ASURE program at CTCA

CTCA Chicago surgical programs

Surgical oncology

The Department of Surgical Oncology at CTCA Chicago provides a variety of advanced surgical procedures to treat cancer and cancer-related symptoms.

The surgical oncology team is experienced in providing advanced surgical procedures for all types and stages of disease.

Learn more about surgical oncology at CTCA 

Neurosurgery

The neurosurgery team at CTCA Chicago is committed to providing innovative treatment options for neurological cancers and neurological problems resulting from other cancers or treatments.

Neurosurgeons focus on the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of disorders or injuries that affect the nervous system, including the brain and spinal cord. At CTCA Chicago, we treat many types of tumors, including primary brain tumors that form from cells in the brain, using innovative surgical techniques, like intraoperative electrophysiology “brain mapping” and intraoperative neuronavigation, which help to enhance the safety of treatment.

We also work with patients who have metastatic brain tumors that spread (metastasize) to the brain from another location in the body, such as the lung, colon, breast or kidney. Metastatic brain tumors are more common than primary brain tumors. The neurosurgeons at CTCA Chicago also treat primary tumors that form from cells in the spinal cord or from surrounding structures.

Our Neurosurgery Services Program also uses advanced surgical procedures to treat neurological cancers. With many surgical treatments available for brain, spinal and central nervous system cancers, it is important for patients to understand their options. Personalized cancer care begins with communication. The neurosurgeons at CTCA Chicago meet with patients to discuss the surgical options available and answer questions.

Juan Alzate, MD, leads the neurosurgery program at CTCA Chicago, treating brain and spinal cord cancers, injuries or diseases using traditional and minimally invasive surgical procedures. Dr. Alzate is skilled in performing minimally invasive spinal surgery, as well as complex and minimally invasive endoscopic cranial-base surgery. Board certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgery, Dr. Alzate has published articles in several leading journals, including the Journal of Neurosurgery.

Learn more about neurosurgery at CTCA

Breast surgery

CTCA Chicago is a Certified Quality Breast Center of Excellence™, awarded for the fifth consecutive time in 2017. CTCA Chicago is the only center in Illinois, and one of only 44 centers nationally, to be recognized as a Certified Quality Breast Center of Excellence™ by the National Quality Measures for Breast Centers Program™ (NQMBC®).

The team of breast surgeons at CTCA Chicago offers clinical therapies that include comprehensive diagnostics and staging to identify relevant breast cancer biology and cell mutations. Among the options available are advanced genomic tests that may lead to targeted treatment options.

Our breast surgeons commonly perform lumpectomy and mastectomy procedures to remove malignant tumors. Whenever possible, our surgical team performs breast-sparing surgery, such as partial, nipple- or skin-sparing mastectomies. During breast surgery, our pathologists evaluate tissue samples as they are removed and provide pathology results immediately, helping our surgeons remove as much cancerous tissue as possible and help avoid the need for multiple surgeries in many cases.

Our expert surgeons also have experience performing innovative breast reconstruction techniques. For example, the surgeons regularly team up to perform oncoplastic and reconstructive surgeries to remove a breast tumor, and then in the same surgical procedure, carefully reshape the breast, using various breast reconstruction techniques to decrease scarring and maintain as much of the breast tissue as possible.

At CTCA Chicago, we combine advanced cancer treatments with supportive therapies as part of a personalized, integrative care plan designed to treat not just the cancer but the individual fighting it, including side effect management techniques designed to reduce the emotional, sexual or physical side effects of cancer.

Learn more about breast surgery at CTCA

Plastic and reconstructive surgery

The reconstructive surgeons at CTCA Chicago are highly educated and trained to perform reconstructive surgical procedures on all areas of the body. Plastic and reconstructive surgery may help repair damage to the body caused by cancer treatments or by the cancer itself. Some reconstructive surgeries are performed to improve function, while others may help patients regain a more normal appearance. Patients being treated for a variety of cancer types, including breast, head and neck, and skin cancers, may be candidates for reconstructive surgery.

With many reconstructive surgical treatments to choose from in some cases, it is important for patients to understand their options. The reconstructive surgeons at CTCA Chicago are available to meet with patients to discuss plastic surgery options and answers questions. Your reconstructive surgery options may depend on many factors, including the location and severity of the damage, prior surgical history, personal preferences, overall health and the likelihood of future cancer treatments. The reconstructive surgeons and other clinicians work to help patients feel empowered to make informed decisions about their treatment.

Reconstructive surgeons at CTCA Chicago work closely with other doctors and supportive care clinicians dedicated to delivering whole-patient care. Our supportive therapies are designed to help patients manage cancer-related side effects and support quality of life before, during and after cancer treatment as part of a personalized, integrative care plan designed to treat not just the cancer but the individual as a whole.

Our surgeons offer specific expertise in a variety of innovative procedures, including:

Learn more about plastic and reconstructive surgery at CTCA

Head and neck surgery

Our Otolaryngology Department uses advanced techniques to treat patients with various types and stages of head and neck cancers, including laryngeal cancer, hypopharyngeal cancer, nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancer, nasopharyngeal cancer, salivary gland cancer and oral cancer. An otolaryngologist, or ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor, is trained in the medical and surgical treatment of the ears, nose, throat and other structures of the head and neck.

Our otolaryngologists at CTCA Chicago take a multidisciplinary approach to recommending individualized treatment options and encouraging patients to work with supportive care clinicians to manage cancer-related side effects and support their quality of life before, during and after cancer treatment.

Leading our otolaryngology department is Carol Bier-Laning, MD, FACS, an otolaryngologist and head and neck surgeon who is board certified in otolaryngology and a member of the American Academy of Otolaryngology, American Head and Neck Society and American College of Surgeons. She diagnoses and treats cancer patients, as well as patients with ENT-related disorders. Dr. Bier-Laning devotes time to patients and their families, educating them about their disease and the options available to treat it, while empowering them to take an active role in their treatment plan.

Learn more about head and neck surgery at CTCA

Urology

The urologists at CTCA Chicago diagnose and treat diseases of the male and female urinary tract system and the male reproductive organs. They help our patients navigate the many implications that kidney, bladder, prostate and testicular cancer may have on their quality of life and normal body functions.

Prior to recommending treatment options, the urologists at CTCA Chicago review patients’ records, inquire about their medical history and order additional tests, if necessary. This information helps the urologist determine the origin and stage of the patient’s cancer. Our urology department offers standard-of-care and innovative treatments delivered by experts who treat only cancer. Your integrative team of urologic cancer experts will answer your questions and recommend treatment options based on your individual diagnosis and needs.

Like the other specialists in the surgery department at CTCA Chicago, our urologists work closely with other doctors and supportive care clinicians dedicated to delivering whole-patient care, to help patients manage or reduce the emotional, sexual or physical side effects of cancer.

Learn more about urologic oncology at CTCA

Thoracic surgery

The thoracic surgeons at CTCA Chicago provide thoracic surgery care to patients with thoracic malignancies ranging from stage I to stage IV disease. These surgeons work with minimally invasive techniques for thoracic diseases, as well as new technology and interventions such as hyperthermic pleural lavage for primary and metastatic pleural disease.

Thoracic surgery is frequently used to assess or repair lungs affected by cancer, trauma or pulmonary disease. For lung cancer, your surgeon would remove nodules, tumors and lymph nodes to diagnose, stage and treat the disease.

Often, your thoracic surgeon will work with an interventional pulmonologist, who is a physician specializing in diagnosing and treating diseases of the lungs and respiratory system. Specifically, interventional pulmonologists perform advanced techniques to diagnose and treat complex conditions of the airways, lungs and the rest of the respiratory system. They also perform minimally invasive procedures to diagnose and treat benign and malignant diseases.

Learn more about thoracic surgery at CTCA

Learn more about interventional pulmonology at CTCA

Meet the surgeons at CTCA Chicago

Carol Bier-Laning - Otolaryngologist

Carol Bier-Laning

Otolaryngologist, CTCA Chicago

Juan Alzate - Neurosurgeon

Juan Alzate

Neurosurgeon, CTCA Chicago

Nejd Alsikafi - Radiologist

Nejd Alsikafi

Urologist, CTCA Chicago

Raza Khan - Urologist

Raza Khan

Urologist, CTCA Chicago

Sutchin Patel - Urologist

Sutchin Patel

Urologist, CTCA Chicago

Miral Amin - Surgical Oncologist and Oncoplastic Breast Surgeon

Miral Amin

Surgical Oncologist and Oncoplastic Breast Surgeon, CTCA Chicago

Hatem Halabi - Assistant Director of the GI Cancer Institute

Hatem Halabi

Director, Surgical Oncology, CTCA Gastrointestinal Cancer Institute, CTCA Chicago

Stephen P. Ray - Medical Director, Breast Cancer Center

Stephen P. Ray

Medical Director, Breast Cancer Center, CTCA Chicago

Daniel Liu - Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon

Daniel Liu

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon, CTCA Chicago

Aaron Pelletier - Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon

Aaron Pelletier

Chief of Surgery, CTCA Chicago

Herbert H. Beck III - Gynecologic Oncologist

Herbert H. Beck III

Gynecologic Oncologist, CTCA Chicago

Julian Schink - Chief, CTCA Division of Gynecologic Oncology, Department of Surgery

Julian Schink

Chief Medical Officer and Chief, CTCA Division of Gynecologic Oncology

Peter Baik - Lung Cancer Institute Leader, Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Peter Baik

Thoracic Surgery Director, CTCA Lung Cancer Institute

Keith Bowersox

Thoracic Surgeon, CTCA Chicago

Skin, wound and ostomy care

The Skin, Wound and Ostomy Care Department at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) addresses certain issues that may arise during cancer treatment, including:

The skin, wound and ostomy care team consists of certified nurses who work closely with your nursing care team, surgeons, gastroenterologists, dietitians, oncology rehabilitation therapists and other clinicians.

A primary focus of the department is prevention and education. As experts in wound and ostomy care, your nurses provide education and support before and after certain procedures or treatments. The team can also teach you self-care techniques for once you return home.

The team addresses a variety of needs, including how to prevent bed sores, proper dressing for wounds, odor control for ostomies, questions about showering, and lotions to use during radiation therapy.

In addition to basic skin, wound and ostomy care, the team provides palliative care to improve comfort. They also collaborate regularly with the hospital’s Education Department for ongoing staff education.

Patients with a variety of different cancer types visit the department, including inflammatory or recurring breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and head and neck cancer. Your care manager is typically the one who schedules your appointments in the department.