The surgical unit a Sheba Medical Center performed upper gastrointestinal tract surgery using the latest technologies and surgical instruments.

Specialized Surgical Unit for the Upper Gastrointestinal Tract Opens at Sheba

For the first time, a specialized unit for gastrointestinal surgery was established at Sheba Medical Center and in Israel. The unit is designed with the latest technologies, including laparoscopic and robotic, and is run by a team of world-renowned experts.

The new gastrointestinal surgery unit implements a range of cutting-edge technologies and techniques. Recently, the team performed the Whipple procedure, a complex resection of the head of the pancreas (also known as a pancreaticoduodenectomy), on a patient who had undergone a heart transplant.

Dr. Yuri Goldes, Deputy Director of Sheba’s Department of Surgery B, is also the director of the new unit. Dr. Goldes was recently awarded a commendation for personal excellence from the Civil Service Commissioner.

“Surgical procedures on the upper gastrointestinal tract are a specialized field of their own. In this framework, we include operations for the esophagus, stomach, pancreas and duodenum. The emphasis is on surgical oncology, since most of the procedures are for malignant tumors. Thanks to the particular expertise of our new unit’s team and the experience of Sheba’s specialists, we are able to perform many complex, breakthrough procedures,” said Goldes.

He added, “The upper digestive system is anatomically and surgically complex. Procedures can take several hours, and there is a high potential for postoperative complications. There are endless studies and articles that show how performing on-site surgical procedures in a highly focused, professional facility significantly improves the quality of the surgery, as well as the ability of the surgeons to cope with potential complications, thereby having direct effects on the patient’s quality of life.”

Working in conjunction with the new unit, approximately 20 multidisciplinary experts from Israel and overseas meet weekly, including surgeons, gastroenterologists, pathologists, and radiologists. These specialists discuss the cases under treatment in order to advance procedures and innovative medicine. Dr. Talia Golan, senior oncologist and director of the first phase of clinical research at Sheba, is the leading force behind this collaborative initiative.

“Our unique expertise in the field places us at the forefront of personalized medicine, at both the national and international level. Sheba has thereby joined the ranks of the world’s top medical centers, which operate similar specialized units,” said Goldes. “We will respond to the most complex cases and enable innovative treatments in the field.”

Prof. Mordechai Gutman, Director of Department of Surgery B, added, “Sheba is a leader in the implementation of innovative medical technologies and advanced patient procedures. The foundation of a distinct division for surgeries on the upper gastrointestinal system upgrades our surgical abilities and allows us to provide patients with the best medical response, improving their quality of life.”