Working Together News

Thoracic Surgery Program Provides Cutting-Edge Care

Patients with complex pulmonary conditions such as COPD or lung cancer need a surgeon who specializes in thoracic surgery. As part of their work together, National Jewish Health and Saint Joseph Hospital opened a thoracic surgery program in 2015 to provide comprehensive outpatient and inpatient care to our patients.
When the program began it had three thoracic surgeons through our collaboration with the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Those surgeons include John Mitchell, MD, Michael Weyant, MD, and Robert Meguid, MD. To keep up with growth over the past two years, the program has added a fourth surgeon Christopher Scott, MD. 
The surgeons partner with pulmonologists and other specialists to create a comprehensive, multilevel treatment plan for each patients’ specific condition. Patients are evaluated at the Thoracic Surgery Clinic at National Jewish Health, and surgeries and post-operative care are performed at Saint Joseph Hospital.
“It’s a comprehensive team. We work closely with inpatient physicians, oncologists, pulmonologists, and others. It is a very collaborative process,” said Dr. Scott. “We are able to have such a robust program because of this environment, where we have access to the combined resources and specialists of National Jewish Health and Saint Joseph Hospital.”
The thoracic surgeons perform both traditional open surgery and minimally invasive robotic surgery. According to Dr. Scott, nearly 90 percent of the procedures our thoracic surgeons perform are robotic.

“We are on the leading edge of doing robotics as a minimally invasive approach to many thoracic surgery operations,” said Dr. Scott. “It’s allowing us to do more minimally invasive operations that reduce the patients’ time in the hospital, overall recovery time and the amount of pain they experience as a result of surgery.”
Saint Joseph Hospital currently has two robots and is planning to add two more to keep up with demand.
In addition to providing the highest level of patient care, the thoracic surgery team is involved in education and research.  They train other clinicians and fellows in minimally invasive surgery, publish data and participate in studies.