Dr. Edgard Gutierrez Puente is a Colombian thoracic surgeon that I had the pleasure of interviewing in February of 2010. He is a professor of Thoracic Surgery at the University of Cartagena. As the only board certified thoracic surgeon in that city (of over 1 million people) – he currently operates in several facilities including: Hospital Naval de Cartagena, Clinica Universitaria San Juan de Dios, Hospital universitario del Caribe, Clinica Medihelp.
As part of a previous project on surgeons in Cartagena, I spent a considerable amount of time with Dr. Gutierrez, seeing patients in all of these facilities. As a result, I have a deep and profound respect for his dedication to his patients and his work. (As a matter of fact – I saw my first true* uni-port thoracoscopic surgery in Dr. Gutierrez’s operating room at Medi-help.)
I recently contacted Dr. Gutierrez on a return visit to Cartagena, and he was happy to tell me about some of his recent cases including a Diaphragmatic plication utilizing dual port thoracoscopy. He is currently writing up the case for publication in surgery journals. (This is more impressive than it may sound to many of us – traditionally Diaphragmatic plication requires open surgery or traditional VATS (with five ports). This is a big development in thoracic surgery, and I will be bringing you more information as soon as possible. (I don’t want to jeopardize his upcoming article – but still wanted to bring it to you first, here at Cirugia de Torax.)
* Often surgeons call a procedure with a small but 3 -5cm surgery a uni-port surgery, but this is actually more akin to a mini-thoracotomy. A true uniport VATS procedure, is as the name implies – using an incision that is only large enough to accommodate a single port – and is then used with thoracoscopy equipment (not open surgery instrumentation). This distinction is important because the amount of post-operative pain depends on the size of the incision and trauma to surrounding tissues and nerves. (A small incision that is heavily stretched from the use of open surgery instrumentation may actually be more painful post-operatively that a sightly larger incision that is under less stress.)
More about Dr. Edgard Gutierrez Puente
Centro Medico Bocagrande
Bocagrande Calle 5 #6 -19
Dr. Gutierrez is a specialty trained thoracic surgeon. After completing medical school at the University of Cartagena, he completed his general surgery residency at the University of Costa Rica. He returned to Colombia for his thoracic surgery fellowship at Universidad El Bosque. He has been operating as a thoracic surgeon for over twenty years.
While his English is limited, his surgical skills aren’t. In reviewing cases and spending time in the operating room with Dr. Gutierrez, I was very impressed by his extensive use of thoracoscopy for many of the cases that often remain in the realm of open surgery. Having said that – I would like to clarify that Dr. Gutierrez is no ‘showboat’ – the decision to perform VATS in each of these cases was based on his skills, the patient’s anatomy and the ability to complete the surgery under safe and appropriate conditions via thoracoscopy Had Dr. Gutierrez been unable to visualize the anatomy easily, or access structures during surgery (or encountered any other problems during the cases) he would have immediately converted to open thoracotomy (as is appropriate.)