Westchester Medical Center's Hepatobiliary Center, as part of the Cancer Center, is a multidisciplinary entity focused on the treatment and oversight of hepatobiliary and pancreatic diseases and acts as a local referral center. Our patients benefit from coordinated multidisciplinary care not otherwise available in the Hudson Valley region. The Hepatobiliary Center consists of a dedicated group of physicians and surgeons who have developed the clinical pathway needed to treat patients, accept referrals from the local community, review cases collectively in patient conferences bi-weekly and make recommendations for treatment.
Unlike many other cancers, the incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) has steadily increased over the past two decades. HCC arises in patients with chronic underlying liver disease secondary to hepatitis B, C or D. Resection, ablation and liver transplantation have all been proposed for the treatment of small HCCs, but resection has remained the treatment of choice.
Mortality rates for hepatobiliary and pancreatic diseases differ across the country, but the mortality rates for males and females of all races in Westchester County exceed both state and national averages. There is a need in this area to address the extremely complex issues facing these patients.
Specialization has evolved in many areas within medicine with the aim of providing better healthcare. This reflects recognition of the depth of knowledge, experience and skills required to treat patients who present with complex or rare diseases. The importance of this development in general surgery is being recognized increasingly throughout the United States and has affected the way surgical departments in large hospitals have structured themselves into specialty groups. Other forces that will encourage specialization are increased inter-hospital and local referrals of complex cases.
Numerous studies have demonstrated a link between surgical volume, perioperative and long-term results in complex general surgery. There is now evidence that surgical treatment of pancreatic resection, liver resection, rectal cancer, esophageal cancer, thyroidectomy, and mastectomy and lumpectomy for breast cancer have improved outcomes when performed by surgeons with larger case volumes in fully supported institutions.