Conquering Sarcoma's Surgical Challenges: The Pioneering Approaches of Dr. Herrick J. Siegel

Sarcoma, a rare type of cancer that arises in the connective tissues of the body, requires highly complex surgery by doctors with specialized expertise. In the Birmingham, Alabama region and beyond, Dr. Herrick J. Siegel of Siegel Orthopaedics has become one of the most trusted surgeons for tackling these challenging operations.

Understanding Sarcoma Surgery

Surgery is often the cornerstone of treatment for most sarcomas, with the goal of removing the entire tumor along with a rim of normal tissue around it. This helps ensure no cancer cells are left behind, reducing the chances of recurrence. Sarcoma surgery may be the only therapy needed for small, low-grade tumors that have not spread. For larger or more aggressive sarcomas, surgery is done in combination with chemotherapy, radiation, or both to target any remaining tumor cells.

Dr. Siegel has profound expertise in the wide range of sarcoma surgery procedures based on tumor location, size, and extent of spread:

  • Limb-sparing surgery - Removes the tumor while preserving limb function. This may involve bone grafts, implants, flaps, or reconstructive surgery.
  • Amputation - Removes all or part of an arm or leg when limb-sparing is not feasible. Dr. Siegel determines if amputation is truly necessary.
  • Radical resection - Removes the tumor along with surrounding tissues like muscle, nerves, and blood vessels. Crucial for retroperitoneal sarcomas.
  • Lymph node dissection - Removes regional lymph nodes which may contain cancer. This lowers recurrence risk.
  • Metastasectomy - Removes metastatic sarcoma tumors in the lungs, liver, or other sites. Can prolong survival in select cases.
  • Complex reconstruction - Restores form and function after major tissue removal, using skin grafts, flaps, orthopedic implants, and other innovations.

With expertise across this spectrum of procedures, Dr. Siegel individualizes his surgical approach based on each patient’s unique situation. His goal is to eliminate the cancer while optimizing preservation of limb, function, and quality of life.

Surgical Skill Across All Sarcoma Sites

Sarcomas can originate nearly anywhere in the body, and Dr. Siegel has extensive experience operating at all of these sites:

  • Arms & Legs: Dr. Siegel is highly-skilled at limb-sparing procedures for sarcomas of the upper and lower extremities. He is able to preserve optimal limb function in most cases.
  • Retroperitoneum: Dr. Siegel is one of few surgeons able to tackle these large, complex abdominal sarcomas. He can remove them along with involved organs and tissues.
  • Head & Neck: Dr. Siegel achieves clear margins when operating on sarcomas in this delicate anatomical region, while maintaining facial nerves and structures.
  • Trunk & Pelvis: Resections here require protecting critical nerves, vessels, and organs. Dr. Siegel excels at these procedures.
  • Chest: Sarcomas of the chest often involve the chest wall, pleura, or mediastinum. Dr. Siegel safely removes them and repairs the chest.

With his breadth of anatomical knowledge and surgical judgement, Dr. Siegel is able to operate anywhere these cancers occur. Patients beyond Birmingham and throughout the Southeast come to him for expert sarcoma surgery.

Cutting-Edge Techniques for Optimal Outcomes

In addition to conventional surgical methods, Dr. Siegel offers the latest innovations for sarcoma treatment:

  • Robotic Surgery - Dr. Siegel uses robotic-assistance for select sarcoma cases. The robotic platform provides enhanced visualization, precision, dexterity, and control.
  • Liquid Nitrogen Cryotherapy - Freezing tumor cells with liquid nitrogen may be used during surgery or to treat metastatic disease. This can destroy cancer cells while protecting healthy tissue.
  • Brachytherapy - Radioactive seeds implanted in the tumor cavity kill remaining cancer cells post-surgery. Dr. Siegel collaborates with radiation oncology for this.
  • Photodynamic Therapy - Injecting a photosensitizing agent then activating it with light can eradicate small metastases when surgery is not feasible.

By specializing in orthopedic oncology and pursuing continual education, Dr. Siegel ensures he can provide the most advanced surgical techniques to conquer these complex cancers.

Multidisciplinary Collaboration for Comprehensive Care

Given the intricacies of sarcoma treatment, Dr. Siegel partners closely with a team of experts across disciplines:

  • Medical Oncology - Chemotherapy and targeted therapy before or after surgery is often beneficial. Dr. Siegel collaborates with medical oncologists to integrate systemic treatments at the optimal time points.
  • Radiation Oncology - Radiation may be used pre- or post-operatively to enhance outcomes. Dr. Siegel coordinates with radiation oncologists to incorporate this modality.
  • Pathology - Obtaining accurate pathology classification of sarcomas is crucial for guiding appropriate surgery and adjuvant therapy. Dr. Siegel works hand-in-hand with specialized sarcoma pathologists.
  • Rehabilitation - Physical and occupational therapy is vital for recovering function after limb-sparing surgery. Dr. Siegel engages therapists to maximize restoration of mobility.

By coordinating all aspects of sarcoma care, Dr. Siegel ensures patients benefit from the collective wisdom of the oncology team for the best results.

Reducing Recurrence Through Meticulous Margins

One of the most critical aspects of sarcoma surgery is attaining negative margins - completely removing the tumor with a rim of normal tissue surrounding it. Positive margins increase the risk the cancer will grow back in that site, so meticulous technique is vital.

Dr. Siegel understands the oncologic principles guiding the necessary margin widths based on sarcoma type, location, grade, and size. He has a time-tested surgical methodology to ensure complete removal within safe tissue planes. While different margins are needed for retroperitoneal versus extremity sites, Dr. Siegel has mastered sarcoma-specific techniques across all locations.

For bone sarcomas, obtaining wide margins requires skilled integration of orthopedic techniques to reconstruct the resulting large bony defects. Dr. Siegel's foundation in orthopedics makes him exceptionally adept at these reconstructions. Throughout his surgeries, he balances oncologic necessity with preservation of function for optimal outcomes.

Committed to Advancing Sarcoma Care

Beyond the operating room, Dr. Siegel contributes to progress in sarcoma treatment through other initiatives:

  • Clinical Research - Dr. Siegel participates in orthopedic oncology research studies. His goal is to expand knowledge and discover improved techniques.
  • Medical Education - As a tenured professor, Dr. Siegel teaches orthopedic residents and surgeons. He trains the next generation of specialists.
  • Publications - With 20+ publications in medical journals, Dr. Siegel shares his expertise. He also authors orthopedic surgery textbooks.
  • Professional Leadership - Dr. Siegel serves in advisory roles for major orthopedic organizations to guide advancements in patient care, education, and research.
  • Community Outreach - Through foundations and events, Dr. Siegel strives to raise awareness and funding for orthopedic causes.

Driven by a lifelong passion for the field, Dr. Siegel remains dedicated to pushing the boundaries of sarcoma surgery, discoveries, and patient outcomes well into the future.

Revolutionizing Sarcoma Care Through Clinical Excellence

For patients facing a daunting diagnosis like sarcoma, having a surgeon with exceptional expertise offers hope. Dr. Herrick J. Siegel has devoted his career to specializing in these rare cancers. His focus on increasingly complex techniques has made him one of the top orthopedic oncology surgeons in the country.

The operations Dr. Siegel performs require years of experience in highly delicate procedures on the limbs, trunk, and organs throughout the body. His safety record and clinical judgement are unmatched. He tailors the approach for each patient based on the tumor variables and their functional priorities.

As an exceptionally skilled, board-certified, fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon with a practice in Birmingham, AL, Dr. Siegel accepts patients regionally and nationwide for evaluation and treatment of sarcomas. His team coordinates seamlessly with other cancer specialists during the multimodal care journey.

For those confronting sarcoma and seeking the best possible outcomes, selecting a surgeon with proven expertise is a pivotal decision. Through over 20 years perfecting surgery for sarcomas of all types and advancing the field, Dr. Siegel has the exceptional qualifications, clinical mastery, and pioneering spirit needed to conquer these cancers and transform patients' lives.

Contact Dr. Herrick Siegel

Not completely satisfied with your joint replacement? Are you continually letting pain limit your day? Dr. Herrick J. Siegel may be able to help.