Trinity Health welcomed Dr. Christopher Phillips, cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon, on March 1. Phillips will focus on heart valve repair and replacement, coronary bypass surgery, atrial fibrillation treatment and lung surgery.
Before arriving at Trinity, Phillips was a staff surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic, the No. 1-ranked heart program in the United States. While there he taught board fellows and board residents operative techniques, clinical skills and management; and he gained additional expertise in robotic, mini-mitral and aortic valve repair procedures.
Phillips is able to perform minimal-access procedures using small incisions.
Katina Tengesdal/MDN - - Dr. Christopher Phillips, cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon for Trinity Health, hopes to bring new innovations in heart and lung surgery to the region.
Katina Tengesdal/MDN - - Dr. Christopher Phillips, cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon for Trinity Health, explains cardiac procedures to patients using an iPad that shows a 3D model of the heart.
"I hope to bring innovation. I would like to see more support groups for heart and lung surgery patients and some new technology used," Phillips said. "One thing I hope to improve is the treatment of lung cancer patients. Many are being diagnosed late or not being treated overly aggressively. I want to bring a multi-disciplinary approach to lung cancer management."
"From a cardiac standpoint, I wanted to bring innovations in valve repair versus valve replacement, using keyhole operations," he added. "Heart surgery is only about 30 years old, and we've moved so far since the beginning. The improvements are moving so rapidly that it's important to be on the forefront of the technology and procedures."
Phillips explained that in traditional cardiac valve surgery, valves were simply removed. Now, surgeons are able to use technology to study valve pathology and how to repair the valve instead of just replacing it.
"Repaired valves are better functioning and last longer than replaced valves," he said. "Valve repair has become more mainstream in the last 5 to 10 years."
While Phillips operates with the latest technologies, he also incorporates patient education into the patient's surgical experience. He has developed an educational program for patients, including his personal biography information, information on procedures and copies of their scans so they can understand their own disease process.
"I want to explain the types of procedures that are available to patients, the risks and the benefits, and the reasons why I chose a particular procedure for them," Phillips said. "I want to make sure that patients have the trust in me that I will offer the best operation for them."