The Division of Gastrointestinal & Oncologic Surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital provides comprehensive care within a multidisciplinary team.

Surgeons in the Division of Gastrointestinal & Oncologic Surgery work together with specialists in the Department of Surgery, the Digestive Healthcare Center and the Mass General Cancer Center to deliver safe, effective surgical treatments to patients. We offer cancer screening, cancer treatment and follow-up care for patients with benign and malignant tumors at the Mass General Cancer Center.

Our division’s highly skilled surgeons offer the latest surgical treatments, are on the faculty at Harvard Medical School and regularly teach other physicians in continuing medical education courses. Many serve in leadership positions of major medical societies, such as the:

  • American College of Surgeons
  • American Pancreatic Association
  • American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery
  • American Society of Colorectal Surgeons
  • Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract
  • Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons
  • Society of University Surgeons
  • Society of Surgical Oncology
  • American Society of Breast Surgeons

A Collaborative, Caring Approach

Our surgeons take a collaborative, multidisciplinary approach to providing the best patient care, working side-by-side with each patient’s entire treatment team to provide comprehensive, personalized treatment for cancer patients and other patients with complex conditions.

One of the hallmarks of our division is our caring, personalized service. We strive to foster close relationships with patients and their families. In fact, results from patient surveys show that more than 90 percent of our patients report they would "definitely recommend" their Mass General surgeon to a friend or family member.

About Gastrointestinal Surgery

Dr. Fernandez-del Castillo with a patient.
Dr. Fernandez-del Castillo with a patient.

We specialize in all types of general and gastrointestinal surgeries—colorectal, gastrointestinal, pancreatic, bariatric, endocrine and more.

Whenever possible, our surgeons use the least invasive methods in treatment. They are highly experienced in performing complex procedures to treat cancers of the stomach, esophagus and rectum in a completely minimally invasive manner, procedures available at few hospitals in the world.

In addition, our physicians are actively involved in laboratory, clinical and outcomes research. Specialty areas of surgical research include pancreatic cancer, colorectal diseases and endocrine diseases.

About Surgical Oncology

Kenneth Tanabe, MD, co-chief
Kenneth Tanabe, MD

Our surgeons specialize in conventional, complex and laparoscopic treatment of tumors, including use of experimental therapies and advanced surgical techniques. The surgical oncology practice is physically located within the Mass General Cancer Center. Surgical oncologists work closely with a team of physicians in the Cancer Center, including medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists, radiologists, plastic/reconstructive surgeons, genetic counselors, oncology nursing staff and social workers to develop individualized cancer treatment plans.

Our surgical oncologists have undergone specialty training in oncology and offer a high degree of specialization and expertise. Cancer surgery is generally considered complex, and published data have demonstrated that hospitals and surgeons with the highest volume experience with specific operations have the lowest complication and death rates. Recognizing the relationship between frequency of performing an operation and outcome, each surgeon focuses his or her clinical practice on the management of one or two diseases.

We provide both inpatient and outpatient clinical services. A wide variety of educational and support services are available for patients and their families as they go through cancer diagnosis, treatment and recovery. Surgical oncologists offer a breadth of diagnostic and therapeutic approaches, including:

  • New techniques in performing nipple-sparing mastectomy
  • Fine needle aspiration of tumors for rapid diagnosis
  • Specialized imaging and lymphatic mapping for breast cancer and melanoma
  • Radiofrequency ablation of liver tumors, where heat is used to target cancer cells
  • Laparoscopic treatment of cancer
  • Intraoperative radiation therapy and brachytherapy, treatment options where radiation may take place during surgical procedures
  • Rectal cancer surgery that avoids removing sections of the colon

Patients treated by surgical oncologists benefit from both the discussion of their treatment plans by multidisciplinary care teams, as well as through access to innovative treatment protocols. Clinical trials to assess new cancer treatment regimens are available to patients at the Mass General Cancer Center, and include all clinical trials available to patients at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute through a completely integrated clinical trials program.

Innovative Surgical Care

Committed to leading new innovations that improve patient care, Mass General surgeons were among the pioneers in minimally invasive surgery and were the first to perform a human natural orifice surgery procedure in New England. This innovative technique leaves patients with no visible surgical scars.

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Surgical Treatments

The Division of Gastrointestinal & Oncologic Surgery specializes in the following clinical programs:

Breast Cancer Surgery

We provide expert care and state-of-the-art breast cancer surgery within a multidisciplinary Mass General Cancer Center team.

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Colorectal Surgery

We offer expert surgical care, including minimally invasive procedures and sphincter-sparing procedures, to treat conditions affecting the intestinal tract, colon and rectum, anal canal and perianal area.

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Endocrine Surgery

We provide specialized treatment for diseases of the thyroid, parathyroid and adrenal glands.

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Gastroesophageal Surgery

We offers advanced surgical options to treat the complete range of gastroesophageal conditions, including gastric and esophageal cancers and benign esophageal disease.

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Hernia Surgery

We offer state-of-the-art surgical repair for all types of abdominal hernias, particularly for complex and complicated cases. 

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Liver Surgery

We specialize in conventional, complex and laparoscopic removal of liver tumors, including use of experimental therapies and advanced surgical techniques.

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Melanoma & Skin Cancer Surgery

We offer expert melanoma and skin cancer surgery within a multidisciplinary team consisting of medical and radiation oncologists, dermatologists and dermapathologists.

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Pancreas and Biliary Surgery

We provide surgical treatments for diseases of the pancreas, gall bladder, liver and bile ducts.

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Sarcoma Surgery

There are hundreds of different types of sarcoma and each requires a specific treatment approach. The Connective Tissue Oncology Clinic (CTOC) at the Mass General Cancer Center houses one of the few medical teams in the world devoted to sarcomas.

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Weight Loss Surgery

We offer a full spectrum of safe and effective surgical procedures for obesity, weight disorders and metabolic disease.

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