Dr. Steliga takes a multidisciplinary approach when working with mesothelioma patients, ensuring the best patient care possible. He works with a wide range of professionals to diagnose and treat cancer, viewing each case as unique.
I find working at UAMS very rewarding. We work very closely with our pulmonologists, medical oncologists, interventional radiologists, radiation oncologists, and pathologists, as well as our nurses. We all work together and do some really incredible things.”—Dr. Steliga
In his spare time, Dr. Steliga enjoys furniture building, cycling, hiking, and camping with his family. He is also a devoted life-long learner and has taken classes in yoga, woodworking, Italian, and graduate-level studies.
Dr. Steliga is also an active member of the Little Rock community, where he resides.
Dr. Steliga’s Location
Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute
The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
4301 West Markham Street
Little Rock, AR 72205
Dr. Steliga’s Career Highlights
- Certified in thoracic and general surgery
- Completed a cardiothoracic surgery residency at MD Anderson Cancer Center
- Adept at minimally-invasive and robotic surgical techniques
Dr. Steliga’s Background
Dr. Steliga went into medical school with the intention of becoming a pediatrician but gravitated towards thoracic oncology after working with phenomenal mentors.
“I went to med school to be a pediatrician. The average age of my lung cancer resection patients is 71, so that’s not really pediatric,” joked Dr. Steliga. “I did not intend on going into surgery—I saw myself as more of a primary care doctor—but when I was going through my medical school, I was drawn in and intrigued by some of the surgeons I worked with and really clicked well. I liked to see the results of the operations and different ways to treat problems with surgery. I got suckered in and liked it ever since!”
He excelled in the field and quickly made a name for himself within the medical community. After graduating with his MD at the Medical College of Wisconsin, Dr. Steliga went on to finish a general surgery internship and residency at the University of Tennessee Health Sciences. He later completed a residency in cardiothoracic surgery at the Texas Heart Institute.
Dr. Steliga then worked at MD Anderson Cancer Center, treating patients and instructing students in cardiothoracic surgery. In 2009, he joined the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) and began working at the Rockefeller Cancer Center.
Dr. Steliga is now recognized as a top thoracic surgeon with expertise is mesothelioma and other abdominal malignancies. He is adept with minimally invasive and thoracic surgeries and is respected for his excellent people skills and overall quality of care.
Dr. Steliga is a board-certified thoracic oncologist who focuses primarily on esophageal and lung cancers, including mesothelioma. He has extensive experience with minimally invasive surgery, recognizing its ability to heal patients faster than traditional alternatives.
Dr. Steliga is interested in a wide range of thoracic conditions, including chest wall tumors, carcinoid tumors, lung nodules, pleural effusion, and mesothelioma. Dr. Steliga also works with an array of lung cancers and works hard to encourage smoking cessation and help his patients quit.
Dr. Steliga’s Career Accomplishments
Dr. Steliga has made a name for himself quickly, becoming a top thoracic oncologist and mesothelioma specialist at a relatively young age.
His patients recognize him for his excellent bedside manner, ability to listen, and detailed explanation of their conditions. He is known to genuinely care about the individuals he works with, treating them with respect and kindness throughout the entirety of their treatment.
Awards & Honours
- Regional Top Doctor
- CMS Stage 1 HER
Dr. Steliga’s Current Work
Dr. Matthew Steliga currently works at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences as a thoracic oncologist. He specializes in chest cancers, including mesothelioma, and uses minimally invasive techniques as much as possible.
Dr. Steliga is a member of several associations, including:
- Associate Fellow – American College of Surgeons
- Member – Cardiothoracic Surgery Network
- Member – American Board of Thoracic Surgery
- Member – International Society for Minimally Invasive Cardiothoracic Surgery
- Member – Society of Thoracic Surgeons
Notable Work by Dr. Steliga
While working at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Dr. Steliga participated in research evaluating preoperative identification of nodals in malignant pleural mesothelioma patients.
Traditionally, a mediastinoscopy (a type of biopsy technology) was frequently used to detect nodals in mesothelioma patients because of its success in doing so for lung cancer. The study explored the ability to detect mesothelioma nodals better using two forms of ultrasound: endobronchial and esophageal endoscopic.
Dr. Steliga and his colleagues reviewed 85 patients who received one of these exploratory procedures before a major mesothelioma operation. Fifty of the patients had received a mediastinoscopy, 38 had an endobronchial ultrasound, and 11 had an esophageal endoscopic ultrasound.
Dr. Steliga’s research ultimately concluded that the patients who received an endobronchial ultrasound were the most likely to have the most accurately identified stage of mesothelioma. However, all three forms of cancer detection were flawed, and overall performance is considered suboptimal. As a result, surgical exploration remains the best method for evaluating and staging mesothelioma.
Dr. Steliga’s Healing Philosophy
Dr. Steliga believes in the multidisciplinary approach to treating mesothelioma, where specialists from numerous fields work together to develop a treatment strategy.
“Mesothelioma is a very challenging cancer to treat. All these cases are handled in a multidisciplinary fashion. You look at each case individually, and in the context of that patient, figure out the best treatment plan.” — Dr. Steliga.
Dr. Steliga works with a comprehensive mesothelioma team at UAMS, which includes oncologists, pathologists, and radiation specialists. All of these professionals work together to develop treatment strategies that are personalized for each patient.
Dr. Steliga is also an advocate for minimally invasive surgeries, recommending them whenever possible.
“It’s smaller incisions, doing the same operations, and getting patients home sooner. Some people are interested in the cosmetic appearance of a smaller incision but it’s bigger benefit is a quicker recovery and getting patients home and out of the hospital, and recovered with a little less pain, and getting them back to their normal activities of daily living,” said Dr. Steliga.