Penn Medicine offers comprehensive surgical services in several specialized areas. Our team of expert surgeons have access to the latest research and technological advancements and offer specialized care from the most complex operations to simple outpatient procedures. We have the resources and capabilities to treat the entire spectrum of adult neoplastic diseases.

Cancer treatments are developed on a case-by-case basis by assessing your individual needs. For some, surgery may be the best choice for evaluation and treatment. Surgical procedures can be used to obtain tissue samples to confirm diagnosis, identify a specific cancer and/or determine the extent of the disease.

Surgery is also used to remove malignant and non-malignant tumors; treat solid tumors like those found in the breast, colon or lung; correct problems that create discomfort or disability; and assist with other types of treatment like the placements of IV access devices.

Types of Surgery

We offer several different surgical techniques and services including:

  • Laser Surgery: Penn has been using laser surgery for more than 20 years and are pioneers in the use of cryosurgery (the use of liquid nitrogen spray or a very cold probe to freeze and kill abnormal cells) and electrosurgery (the use of high-frequency electrical current to destroy cells). We are one of the few facilities in the Philadelphia region that offers prostate cryosurgery, a minimally invasive procedure that provides an alternative to removing the prostate gland of men diagnosed with prostate cancer. Studies show that laser treatment leads to a better prognosis, a shorter hospital stay and fewer complications such as less pain and blood loss.
  • Minimally Invasive Surgery: Penn Medicine doctors are at the forefront of minimally invasive diagnostic and surgical techniques including fine needle aspirations (the use of a very thin needle to withdraw a small amount of tissue from a tumor); stereotactic biopsy (a computer-guided extraction of a tissue sample); and sentinel lymph node sampling (the removal of a single lymph node rather than multiple nodes).
  • Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: Penn Medicine surgeons are skilled in a full range of cosmetic and reconstructive procedures designed to restore a patient's appearance or the function of an organ or body part following the removal of a tumor. Services range from breast reconstruction to facial skeletal surgery. For people whose cancer involves a limb, advances in surgical techniques have made limb-sparing surgery a mainstay.
  • Robotic Surgery: Penn has one of the most comprehensive robotic surgery programs in the United States. Robotic-assisted surgery is like other minimally invasive surgery in that instruments and cameras are inserted through small incisions. What is different is that the surgeon sits at a console next to the patient. The advantages of robotic-assisted surgery include a tremendous enhancement in the surgeons' control of the instruments and the ability to perform more intricate procedures.
  • Surgical Supportive Care: Penn Medicine provides additional supportive services for the holistic approach to the treatment of cancer. A surgical oncology nurse coordinator acts as a resource for the surgical oncologists and patients by providing access to support groups, nutritional services, educational programs, clinical protocols and research activities. The nurse coordinator works directly with you to guide you through treatment.
  • TransOral Robotic Surgery (TORS): TORS is the world’s first minimally invasive, robotic surgery technique that allows Penn surgeons to remove benign and malignant tumors of the mouth and throat. TORS uses an advanced technology called the da Vinci® Surgical System, giving our surgeons access to areas of the mouth and throat that are difficult to reach with traditional surgery. Using this improved robotic-assisted technology allows faster recovery and superior outcomes for individuals with head and neck cancer. Learn more about this leading edge program and other conditions treated using TORS.
  • Videoscopic Techniques: Our surgeons are leaders in videoscopic techniques, including endoscopy and laparoscopy, which rely on the use of small fiberoptic cameras attached to thin, flexible tubes to generate images from inside the body onto a television monitor. We are leaders in researching and testing new minimally invasive surgeries and in offering training in videoscopic techniques to other surgeons nationwide.