News Release: People

Apr. 1,  2009

Thoracic Surgeon Joins Emory University Hospital Midtown

From Woodruff Health Sciences Center

Thoracic surgeon Allan Pickens, MD, has joined the  Department of Surgery at Emory University School of Medicine and Emory University Hospital Midtown (EUHM). A highly skilled and fellowship-trained minimally invasive thoracic surgeon, Pickens will direct Minimally Invasive Thoracic Surgery and Thoracic Oncology at EUHM.

Pickens expertise allows him to perform minimally invasive removal of early stage lung cancers and esophageal cancers using a procedure called Video Assisted Thorascopic Surgery or VATS. Using VATS, surgeons make several small incisions into the chest wall to remove these cancers. A tiny camera or endoscope is inserted in one incision to view the lung or esophagus, while the other incisions are used for passing small instruments to perform the surgery or a biopsy.

“By removing early stage lung and esophageal cancers in a minimally invasive fashion, we can give patients a shorter hospital stay, a faster recovery and a decreased risk of complications,” says Pickens. “Our technique reduces incision sizes from six to 10 inches with a standard open incision, to incisions that are only one to two inches. We’ve found these minimally invasive procedures lead to less pain and better function for patients.”

Patients most likely to undergo minimally invasive thoracic surgeries include those with a diagnosis of early stage lung or esophageal cancer that has not spread. 

Pickens received his medical degree from the University of Alabama, Birmingham (UAB). He completed his general surgery residency at UAB and cardiothoracic surgery residency at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Pickens did a minimally invasive chest surgery fellowship at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles and an esophageal surgery fellowship at the University of Michigan.

From 2005 to 2009 Pickens was an assistant professor at the University of Michigan, where he started and directed the Minimally Invasive Thoracic Surgery Program.

Board certified in both general surgery and thoracic surgery, Pickens also performs minimally invasive surgery for benign esophageal diseases, such as gastroesophageal reflux and achalasia. Pickens is also the assistant director of lung transplant surgery for Emory University Hospital and has performed several lung transplants since his arrival.

For more information about Pickens or to schedule an appointment with him, please call Emory HealthConnection at 404.778.2000.

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