The Division of Thoracic Surgery

Jon O. Wee, M.D.

Jon O. Wee, M.D.

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Dr. Wee joined the Division in 2006. He is board certified in Surgery and Thoracic Surgery. After graduating from Duke University School of Medicine, he completed his Surgery residency at Brigham and Women's Hospital. He then went to the University of Pittsburgh for training in cardiothoracic surgery under Dr. James Luketich. While in Pittsburgh, he was also a visiting fellow at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City where he worked with Dr. Valerie Rusch and Dr. Manjit Baines.

His clinical interests include minimally invasive surgery for thoracic and esophageal diseases. Some of his particular interests include the following:

Minimally invasive esophagectomy for cancer. Using thoracoscopic and laparoscopic techniques, the diseased esophagus is mobilized, resected, and reconstructed with minimal trauma. The goal is improved recovery and return to activity with less pain and a complete oncologic resection.

Video assisted lobectomy. Lung resection for cancer often requires a large thoracotomy incision with spreading of the ribs. VATS lobectomy uses three small incisions without any spreading of the ribs. A camera is used to assist the dissection of sensitive blood vessels and lung structures. Less pain and quicker recovery are the goals. If chemotherapy is deemed necessary after surgery, patients are healthier and can more reliably begin their adjuvant therapy.

GERD, Giant Paraesophageal Hernias, Achalasia, Diverticulum. A variety of benign esophageal diseases can be treated through laparoscopic or thoracoscopic techniques.

Video assisted Thymectomy. Whether for myasthenia gravis or thymic tumor, a VATS thymectomy can help avoid large sternotomy incisions by approaching the tumor though 3 mm incisions in the chest.

Hyperhydrosis. VATS sympathectomy can reduce or alleviate excessive sweating from the face, axilla, and hands by disrupting the sympathetic nerve conduction through small 3 mm incisions.

Radiofrequency ablation and cyberknife therapy for tumors. Patients who are too high risk for conventional surgery can still have options for treatment of their tumors. RFA and cyberknife provide low risk options for local tumor control.

Transoral incisionless fundoplication (TIF). The TIF procedure uses endoscopy to address moderate-to-severe gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). It has been shown to be effective in patients with severe reflux esophagitis, chronic regurgitation, recurrent aspiration, chronic vocal cord edema, or for those who simply wish to stop taking chronic antireflux medication. Approximately 80% of patients get relief of symptoms and stop taking medication. Most patients have minimal pain and experience few, if any, symptoms of dysphagia after the procedure. Patients who undergo TIF are not precluded from future laparoscopic surgery, if it becomes necessary. Patient selection is an important factor, as patients with large hiatal hernia are not candidates for this approach.

Robotic thoracic surgery. Robotic surgery, using the DaVinci Surgical Robot system, is another minimally invasive approach that can be used for a variety of thoracic conditions including but not limited to lung cancer, complex mediastinal disease, esophageal cancer, thymic resection, and benign esophageal diseases such as achalasia and paraesophageal hernias. Although many of these complex procedures are routinely performed laparoscopically and thoracoscopically, the robotic approach is ideal in situations where the additional level of dexterity and control provided by the robotic instrumentation permits improved visualization and better dissection. The robotic approach, for example, can facilitate operation in an obese patient undergoing a complex operation, who might otherwise be precluded from minimally invasive surgery.

Dr. Wee's research interest is in studying the effects of minimally invasive surgery on patient outcomes, developing new techniques and technology for minimal access surgery, lung and esophageal cancer, and pathogenesis of reflux, hernias, and cancer.

Dr. Wee is an Instructor in Surgery at Harvard Medical School and an Associate Surgeon in the Division of Thoracic Surgery, BWH. He sees patients and operates both at Brigham & Women's Hospital and Faulkner Hospital.

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