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New Director of Minimally Invasive Liver and Pancreas Surgery Offers Unique Procedures

PHILADELPHIA (December 9, 2008) — Andrew A. Gumbs, MD, has joined the department of surgery at Fox Chase Cancer Center as director of minimally invasive surgery for the liver, pancreas, bile ducts and gallbladder—hepato-pancreato-biliary or HPB surgery.  Gumbs is the first American surgeon to complete a fellowship in minimally invasive HPB surgery at the Institut Mutualiste Montsouris, Université René Descartes, in Paris, France, where the world's first published case of laparoscopic gallbladder removal took place.

Because of this specialized training, Gumbs is one of a handful of surgeons in the United States to offer major hepatic resections and Whipple procedures that are totally laparoscopic.  A new resident of Elkins Park, Pa., he is also associate director of Fox Chase's minimally invasive surgery and endoscopic skills fusion laboratory.

Fox Chase is one of only a few institutions in the world that has made a major commitment to performing less invasive surgical procedures for cancer whenever they can assure optimal tumor removal while benefiting patients in other ways.

Scarless Surgery
"Fox Chase has given me the mandate to expand this exciting new field that offers the potential to reduce the length of hospitalization," Gumbs said.  "Although this center is one of a few hospitals in the country that exclusively takes care of cancer patients, I will be able to continue my pioneering work in the field of scarless surgery—specifically, single-incision laparoscopic surgery—for benign diseases as well."

In a  single-incision laparoscopy, the point of entry is the bellybutton.  Gumbs said that this procedure is ideally suited for diagnosis, staging and surgical treatment for benign tumors and other conditions such as gallstones.  Single-incision laparoscopic procedures are also known as LESS (laparo-endoscopic single-site) surgery and NOTES (natural-orifice transluminal endoscopic surgery).

Starting early in 2009, Gumbs plans to begin using the next generation of laparoscope technology, developed in France.  Following Food and Drug Administration approval of the equipment, Fox Chase will serve as a beta testing site for the EndoControl ViKY system:  a robotically controlled holder for the scope and camera.  This new robotic technology serves as a "third hand" for the surgeon, providing greater precision and control compared to standard laparoscopy.

Full Spectrum of Surgical Options
Together, Gumbs and John P. Hoffman, M.D., F.A.C.S., chief of pancreaticobiliary surgery at Fox Chase, offer the full spectrum of surgical options for tumors of the pancreas, liver and bile ducts—ranging from benign, premalignant and small malignant tumors suitable for minimally invasive procedures to large cancers requiring open resection and vascular reconstruction.
"I believe Fox Chase's setting offers the ideal tranquility needed to recover from major and minor HPB surgery," said Gumbs.  "Fox Chase Cancer Center is just the right size.  It's large enough to offer state-of-the-art, innovative technology for modern HPB clinical care.  The size of Fox Chase is also small enough to ensure that patients will never lose that personal touch with their physician, surgeon and health-care team."

Gumbs received his undergraduate degree at Yale University, majoring in archeological studies, and his medical degree at Yale School of Medicine.  He completed his residency at Yale-New Haven Hospital, serving as  chief general surgery resident in his final year there.

He held a two-year clinical and research fellowship in pancreatic surgery at the University of Verona in Italy.  He also completed a fellowship in minimal access surgery at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, the University Hospital of Columbia and Cornell, before beginning his fellowship in minimally invasive HPB surgery at the Institut Mutualiste Montsouris.
An author of numerous peer-reviewed journal articles, reviews and text chapters, Gumbs has also worked with Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontieres) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  Before joining Fox Chase, Gumbs was assistant attending surgeon at New York-Presbyterian and instructor in clinical surgery at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Fox Chase Cancer Center, part of the Temple University Health System, is one of the leading cancer research and treatment centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence four consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach.  For more information, call 1-888-FOX CHASE or (1-888-369-2427).

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