Last modified: October 31, 2022
Quick Facts
  • Certifications:
    • American Board of Thoracic Surgery
    • Pontificia Universidad Javeriana Facultad de Medicina (M.D.)
    • Harvard Medical School (Fellowship)
    • Brigham and Women’s Hospital (Fellowship)
    • Duke University Medical Center (Residency)
  • Expertise:
    • Pleural Mesothelioma
    • Pleurectomy and Decortication Surgery
    • Robotic Surgery
    • Lung Cancer

About Dr. Villamizar

Since his arrival at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center in 2014, Villamizar has helped assemble a multidisciplinary team of specialists who provide excellence in care for patients with pleural mesothelioma cancer.

He brought the surgical skills he honed at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston, which has the most acclaimed mesothelioma program in America. The program there was built by renowned surgeon Dr. David Sugarbaker.

“We wanted to build the same kind of program here, the best of the best,” Villamizar said. “When I was at Brigham, we kept seeing more and more mesothelioma patients coming from Florida for surgery. So it just made sense for me to come here.”

In 2022, Villamizar collaborated with the Initiative for Early Lung Cancer Research on Treatment and International Early Lung Cancer Action Program. The research focused on the emergence of hiatal hernias after thoracic surgery for early lung cancer.

Villamizar specializes in the aggressive pleurectomy and decortication surgery, the most effective tool in stopping this cancer. He also has expertise in robotic-assisted, minimally invasive surgery used in other lung, esophageal and mediastinal resections.

“To build a program like we have here, it’s not about one person. You need a real team in place to give these patients the specialized care they need with a disease as complex as this,” he said. “It’s not about a great surgeon taking care of a patient. It’s about a great team.”

In conjunction with thoracic medical oncologists and radiation oncologists, Villamizar offers multimodality therapy in treating chest wall tumors, locally advanced lung cancer and esophageal conditions.

“A lot of what we do here goes back to what we did, what I learned in Boston,” he said. “With this disease [mesothelioma], you become so emotionally attached to these patients.”