BCM reaches new milestone for robotic thoracic surgeries

The BCM Division of Thoracic Surgery, a pioneer in robotic surgery, reached a milestone in 2021 of completing 1,000 robotic thoracic surgery cases. Robotic approaches to treating thoracic conditions have been proven to result in better patient outcomes than open surgery by decreasing length of stay, reducing postoperative pain, and improving quality of life. Our surgeons perform robotics for a wide breadth and depth of conditions, including pulmonary resection procedures such as lobectomy and segmentectomy, esophagectomy, thymectomy, and hiatal hernia and anti-reflux surgery.

Leaders in per oral endoscopic myotomy (POEM) volume and outcomes

The Baylor College of Medicine General Thoracic Surgery group at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center offers the full range of thoracic and foregut surgery, no matter the complexity. The clinic prioritizes patients, seeing cases within a week or earlier if needed.

Dr. Shawn Groth, Director of Esophageal Surgical Services at Baylor College of Medicine, brings experience to the clinic, completing over 400 surgical cases each year and over 340 robotic surgical cases to date. As a proctor for Intuitive, he shares his robotic thoracic surgery knowledge to train surgeons across the nation on best practices.

Contributing to the innovative procedures at Baylor St. Luke’s, Groth along with Dr. Mohamed Othman, Chief of Gastroenterology at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center and Associate Professor at Baylor College of Medicine, performed the first Peroral Endoscopic Myotomy (POEM) in 2016.
Today, over 250 POEMs have been completed, primarily for achalasia. POEM can treat spastic disorders of the esophagus such as Type III achalasia and Jackhammer esophagus as well as pyloric stenosis and Zenker’s diverticuli. Baylor St. Luke’s has the highest volume of POEM procedures in Texas and is a leader in third space endoscopy nationally and internationally.
Dr. Mohamed Othman, MD

Chief of Gastroenterology at
Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center

Comprehensive GERD care

Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center incorporates a comprehensive, multidisciplinary, patient-centered approach to care with otolaryngology, gastroenterology, and thoracic surgery, offering the full spectrum of GI testing capabilities and treatment options. This includes laparoscopic fundoplication and transoral incisionless fundoplication (TIF) for primary and redo procedures. Additional capabilities include the LINX System, a small, flexible band of magnets enclosed in titanium beads connected by titanium wires helping to keep a weak lower esophageal sphincter (LES) closed to prevent reflux.

Kalpesh Patel, M.D.
Department of Medicine Gastroenterology and Hepatology Baylor College of Medicine

High-volume center for esophagectomy

Capable of performing the most complex procedures, the Baylor College of Medicine General Thoracic Surgery team at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center is among the roughly 1% of hospitals in the nation that perform esophagectomy at a high-volume level. The group’s consistently high volume meets the threshold criteria for “Take the Volume Pledge” based on data from the National Cancer Database. With a 30-day mortality rate of less than 1%, the team has committed to growing the program significantly while maintaining outstanding outcomes that rival the best in literature. With the arrival of new leadership, the team has increasingly performed minimally invasive esophagectomies, placing Baylor St. Luke’s as a high-volume center.

Minimally invasive esophagectomy has proven to result in 70% lower odds of major complications and 60% lower rate of pulmonary complications without compromising oncologic quality of operation. This includes a 70% decreased risk of pneumonia as opposed to open esophagectomy.

Pictured (from Left to Right): Dr. Bryan Burt, Dr. Shawn Groth and Dr. R. Taylor Ripley

Center for Advanced Endoscopy

Baylor St. Luke’s Center for Advanced Endoscopy is one of the largest referral practices for endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) and endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) in Houston.
Our program’s gastroenterologists perform endoscopic submucosal dissection (ESD) of esophageal and colorectal tumors, endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR) in patients with Barrett’s esophagus and early-stage cancer, as well as diagnostic and therapeutic ERCP for:
The Center offers patients a variety of advanced therapeutic endoscopic services, including:
Dr. Mohamed Othman, director of advanced endoscopy and assistant professor of medicine - gastroenterology

Pictured: Dr. Mohamed Othman

The Center also involves medical oncology and offers endoscopic bariatric therapies, including minimally invasive, laparoscopic, robotic, and transanal surgical procedures for benign and malignant pathology of the colon, rectum, and anus.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center

The Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center offers patients the full spectrum of services related to IBD. This includes a team of expert pathologists, gastroenterologists, nutritionists, radiologists, psychologists and surgeons and state-of-the-art endoscopy equipment for early detection and improved diagnosis and treatment options. The Center also includes access to the latest clinical trials.

Pioneers in pancreatic treatments

In collaboration with Baylor College of Medicine, the Pancreas Clinic at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center is dedicated to the medical management of patients with pancreatic disorders with a deep emphasis on psychosocial and nutritional aspects of care. We have developed a specialized inpatient pancreaticobiliary service to handle any urgent admission for patients with pancreatic diseases.
The Elkins Pancreas Center at the Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center, a department of Baylor St. Luke’s, specializes in the treatment of pancreatic cancer, pancreatitis, and other pancreatic diseases through traditional and minimally invasive surgery, gene therapy, and clinical trials.
Led by Dr. William Fisher, the clinic offers the full range of pancreatobiliary procedures, including the Whipple, to address conditions like chronic pancreatitis and cancer of the pancreas, ampulla of Vater, duodenum, and the distal bile duct. In fact, Baylor St. Luke’s was among the first hospitals in the nation to offer the robotic Whipple procedure. The robotic Whipple surgery is offered in just a few hospitals in the country.
Pictured: Dr. George Van Buren
Both our Pancreas Clinic and Elkins Pancreas Center are recognized as Pancreatitis Centers of Excellence by the National Pancreas Foundation.
William E Fisher, M.D., FACS
Professor, Clinical Vice Chair and Chief, Division of General Surgery Baylor College of Medicine

A leader in GI research

With over 170 papers in scientific journals and over $8.9 million in research funding in 2019, the Center remains a leader in research in gastrointestinal and liver diseases. The Section continues to be the clinical home for the NIH-funded Digestive Disease Center, one of 17 federally funded centers focusing on research in GI diseases.
Section members are in key leadership positions, ranging from serving in the Faculty Senate at the College level to holding the office of the President of the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) at the national level. The Section also serves as the home for the Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, one of the major clinical journals in the field.