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After serving nearly 25 years as a cardiothoracic surgeon in Greater Portland, Seth D. Blank, M.D., narrowed his clinical focus to thoracic surgery. In 2012, he accepted a leadership position at the newly built Portland Thoracic Surgery center at Mercy Hospital.
At Portland Thoracic Surgery center, Blank and his team of thoracic surgeons treat patients diagnosed with mesothelioma, lung cancer and various other cancerous and benign diseases, specifically those that affect the chest, lungs, esophagus and respiratory tract. He has a special interest in minimally invasive surgical techniques, including Video Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery (VATS). Originally from New York, Blank earned his medical degree from Boston University School of Medicine before training in general surgery at Yale-New Haven Hospital and the Hospital of Saint Raphael. After returning to Boston for a year to perform research at Massachusetts General Hospital, Blank completed his cardiothoracic training at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.
Fast Fact: In 2006, Dr. Blank performed the first minimally invasive lobectomy in Maine.
Blank joined the Portland Thoracic Surgery center with his long-time partner Joseph Schrader, PA-C. Joe and I have worked as a team for nearly 18 years, said Blank. Together, we have made the decision to concentrate solely on this aspect of surgery and ensure the highest level of personal care and attention to detail that we can offer. It’s a win-win for our patients.
Since transitioning away from cardiothoracic surgery, Blank has focused a great deal of professional attention on VATS, a much less invasive approach to chest surgery. With the VATS technique, Blank uses a small video scope called a thoracoscope to perform surgery for lung cancer, mesothelioma and other conditions.
Unlike traditional thoracic surgery, which requires a 6- to 8-inch incision down the center of the chest, surgeons can perform VATS with three small incisions, typically only 1 inch in length. VATS, with its smaller incisions and special instruments, is just as effective as traditional surgery with several noteworthy benefits.
For one, patients treated with VATS generally experience less blood loss and fewer complications than those who receive traditional surgery. The minimally invasive technique is also associated with shorter hospital stays and faster recovery time, as well as less post-operative pain and scarring. VATS is just one of many advanced surgical techniques Blank and his team offer at Mercy Hospital.
Blank is a member of several professional medical organizations, including the American College of Surgeons, the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, the American College of Chest Physicians and the General Thoracic Surgical Club. He is certified in general and thoracic surgery by the American Board of Surgery and the American Board of Thoracic Surgery.
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