Neil Christie

Neil Christie M.D.

Assistant Professor of Surgery

Get in touch
    Specialty
  • Minimally Invasive Thoracic Surgery

About Dr. Christie

Accolades:

  • Pleural and Lung Cancer icon

    Pleural and Lung Cancer

  • Team Leader icon

    Team Leader

  • Minimally Invasive Surgery icon

    Minimally Invasive Surgery

  • Board Certified icon

    Board Certified in Surgery

There is a common theme to the work being done by Neil Christie, M.D., thoracic surgeon at the University of Pittsburgh’s Cancer Center.

He keeps looking for better, more effective ways to help his patients, especially those who need it most.

Quick Fact

One of Dr. Christie’s special interests is Fluorescence Bronchoscopy, an early lung cancer diagnostic technique.

Whether it’s the treatment of pleural mesothelioma, lung cancer, esophageal cancer or thymomas, Christie has been part of the research efforts at the center that effectively have moved surgery toward the more minimally-invasive kind, which come with fewer complications, making it more readily available for everyone.

Christie is one of four thoracic surgical oncologists at Pittsburgh’s Mesothelioma Specialty Care Center, where a multi-disciplinary approach and state-of-the-art therapy is most often prescribed. He is joined by specialists Matthew Schuchert, M.D.; Rodney Landreneau, M.D.; and James D. Luketich, M.D.

Minimally Invasive Approach

Get the Best Treatment

Get help connecting with Dr. Christie and find the treatment that's best for you.

Get Help Now

Christie has authored and co-authored several papers on the surgical complications that result from pleural effusions, which often accompany a diagnosis of mesothelioma. In addition to his role as a mesothelioma surgeon, Christie is the director of the Lung Imaging Fluorescence Endoscope (LIFE) Program, which is a part of the Early Lung Cancer Detection Program at the Medical Center.

In recent years, Christie has studied and helped refine stereotactic radiosurgery – as opposed to the standard surgical resection – for patients with Stage I non-small lung cancer.

He has worked on minimally-invasive esophagectomies, which dramatically reduce recovery time without sacrificing results, instead of the traditional open methods. And he has pushed for the video-assisted, minimally-invasive approach to thymectomies, instead of the traditional, open resection.

Stereotactic Radiosurgery

At the American Association for Thoracic Surgery Convention, he extolled the virtues of stereotactic radiosurgery as a lung-sparing, viable option for Stage I lung cancer. He pointed to older, less-healthy patients who might not be good candidates for the more traditional lobectomy, which removes major portions of the lung.

Despite its name, stereotactic radiosurgery is not a surgical procedure, but a form of radiation therapy that better targets the cancerous area with high-power x-rays.

The long-term survival analysis of medically inoperable patients who are being treated with stereotactic radiosurgery will likely identify a subset who are survival-comparable to (those who have) surgery,” he said. “My expectation is that in the future, there will be a group that can be treated without surgery.”

Christie was also part of a University of Pittsburgh study published in the Annals of Surgery that detailed the comparison of minimally invasive esophagectomy to the traditional open method. The conclusion was eye-opening.

MIE offers results as good as or better than open operation in our center. . . . . We observed a lower mortality rate (1.4 percent) and shorter hospital stay (seven days) than most open series.

– Dr. Christie

He was part of another study published in 2011 comparing surgical techniques for early-stage thymoma, detailing the advantages of the video-assisted thoracoscopic surgical (VATS) approach. The conclusion was that the oncologic outcomes were comparable, while the hospital stays were considerably shorter with VATS.

Disclaimer: Dr. Neil Christie has no professional affiliation with Asbestos.com.

Free VA Claims Assistance

Get Help Now

Qualify for Free Medical Care

See If You Qualify

Get Help Paying for Treatment

Learn More

Tim Povtak, Senior Content Writer at Asbestos.com

Tim Povtak is an award-winning writer with more than 30 years of reporting national and international news. His specialty is interviewing top mesothelioma specialists and researchers, reporting the latest news at mesothelioma cancer centers and talking with survivors and caregivers.

Sources
  1. Christie, N.A. (2008). Stereotactic Radiotherapy for Lung Tumors [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from http://www.semthorcardiovascsurg.com/article/S1043-0679(08)00146-9/fulltext
  2. Luketich, J.D., MD, Alvelo-Rivera, M., MD, Buenaventura, P.O., MD, Christie, N.A., MD, McCaughan, J.A., MD, Litle, V., MD -- & Fernando, H.C., MD. (2003). Minimally Invasive Esophagectomy. Annals of Surgery, 238 (4), 486-495.
  3. Pennathur A., Qureshi I., Shuchert M.J., Dhupar R., Ferson P.F. Gooding W.E. , Christie N.A. . . . Luketich J.D. (2011). Comparison of surgical techniques for early-stage thymoma: feasibility of minimally invasive thymectomy and comparison with open resection. Journal of Thoracic Cardiovascular Surgery, 141 (3), 694-701.
  4. UPMC Cancer Centers (2012). Our Experts. Mesothelioma Specialty Care Center of UPMC Cancer Centers. Retrieved from http://upmccancercenters.com/MSCC/experts.html
  5. UPMC Cancer Centers -- Search Our Website. (2012). Biography: Neil Christie. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.upmccancercenters.com/search/page_physbio.cfm?id=21491
Get Help Contacting Neil Christie

View our resources for patients and families

Get Help Today
Get Your Free Mesothelioma Guide