Dr. Nestor Villamizar

Dr. Nestor Villamizar

Thoracic Surgeon & Contributing Writer

Dr. Nestor Villamizar is a thoracic surgeon who sparked the creation of a specialized mesothelioma program at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, which is part of the University of Miami Health System.

About Dr. Nestor Villamizar

Accreditations
  • American Board of Thoracic Surgery (Thoracic and cardiac surgery)

  • Pontificia Universidad Javeriana Facultad de Medicina (Medical school)

Fast Facts
  • Dr. Villamizar joined the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center in 2014.

  • He worked previously at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston, where he trained under renowned mesothelioma specialist Dr. David Sugarbaker.

  • Villamizar is the director of the Lung Cancer Screening Clinic at Sylvester.

  • He earned his medical degree from one of the top-rated universities in Colombia.

  • One of his specializations is robotic-assisted, minimally invasive surgery.

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.”

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.”

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Last Modified July 28, 2020

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