About Dr. Wickii Vigneswaran
Dr. Vigneswaran is a thoracic and cardiovascular surgeon at Loyola University Medical Center, where he is currently the Division Director of Thoracic Surgery. He is also the System Medical Director of Thoracic Surgery for Edward-Elmhurst Health.
He has worked extensively with pleural mesothelioma and is interested in using minimally invasive surgery techniques like robotic and video-assisted procedures.
Part of his interest in using minimally invasive procedures stems from his concern for his patient’s quality of life. This is why a lot of his current research also focuses on the effect of treatments like pleurectomy with decortication (P/D) on patients’ quality of life.
Dr. Vigneswaran’s Location
If you are interested in working with Dr. Wickii Vigneswaran, you can reach him at:
Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center
Loyola University Medical Center
2160 S. First Ave.
Maywood, IL 60153
Some of Dr. Vigneswaran’s career accomplishments include:
- Pioneer in using robotic or video-assisted thoracic surgery
- Author of more than 100 articles and book chapters, and has edited three books about lung transplantation and thoracic surgery
- Helped improve the staging system for pleural mesothelioma
Awards & Honors
Dr. Vigneswaran is the recipient of several awards and honors, including:
- CMS Stage 1 EHR
- Super Doc
- ACS Fellow
- Chicago Magazine: Top Doctors
Dr. Vigneswaran’s Background
Dr. Vigneswaran received his medical degree from the University of Peradeniya in Sri Lanka. After graduation, he moved to the United Kingdom for his residencies. He completed a residency in emergency medicine at the Walsall General Hospital in the UK and then completed a residency in anesthesiology at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in the UK.
After finishing that residency, he attended the Freeman Hospital where he completed a residency in general surgery. Next, he went to the Royal Infirmary of Glasgow for his first residency in thoracic surgery. He completed a second residency in thoracic surgery at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.
Once he had finished his residencies, Dr. Vigneswaran completed a series of fellowships in thoracic surgery in the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States. Some of the schools he attended for his fellowships are the University of Colorado School of Medicine, the Mayo Clinic/Mayo Graduate School of Medicine and the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.
Dr. Vigneswaran is a member of many professional associations including:
- American College of Surgeons
- Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburg, Scotland
- Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons in Canada
- American College of Chest Physicians
- Royal Society of Medicine
- International College of Surgeons
- American Medical Association
- Society of Thoracic Surgeons.
Dr. Vigneswaran specializes in treating pleural mesothelioma using robotic-assisted surgery and VATS. VATS is a minimally invasive procedure that uses small incisions and cameras to guide the surgeon while he is performing the operations.
Dr. Vigneswaran has performed almost 200 surgeries for mesothelioma, primarily following the pleurectomy with decortication procedure.
Dr. Vigneswaran is most familiar with pleurectomy with decortication (P/D) procedure for pleural mesothelioma, as opposed to the extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP)—a more extensive surgery that involves removing the lung. In the P/D procedure, the surgeon removes the lining of the lung, any other areas that might be affected such as the lining of the heart or diaphragm, and visible tumors in the lungs.
Notable Work by Dr. Vigneswaran
One of the studies that Dr. Vigneswaran led looked at the current staging system for pleural mesothelioma. If researchers can improve the scoring system, it can lead to more accurate prognoses and help guide the treatment.
The current staging system is tumor/node/metastasis (TNM), which looks at the size of the tumor, whether or not it has spread to nearby lymph nodes, and if it has spread to other parts of the body. However, while this system works well for some types of lung cancers, it is less effective at staging mesothelioma.
To help improve the pleural mesothelioma staging system, Dr. Vigneswaran and his team studied whether or not a mesothelioma tumor’s size could predict patient prognosis. His team confirmed that larger tumors were related to decreased survival times. By officially establishing the connection between tumor size and survival rates, researchers will be able to fix the staging system, so it is more accurate.
Improving Patient Quality of Life
Dr. Vigneswaran has also studied the quality of life of patients who have undergone a P/D. He was inspired to explore this when he realized that many individuals were avoiding having surgery because they were afraid it would lower their quality of life. However, because P/D can prolong a patient’s life and many surgeons will recommend it as a treatment for pleural mesothelioma, he wanted to put his patients’ minds at ease.
Dr. Vigneswaran and his team surveyed over 100 patients before and one month, 4-5 months, 7-8 months and 10-11 months after they had P/D surgery to see how they rated their quality of life. All of the patients surveyed reported that their quality of life improved in the month following the procedure and continued to be better as time went on.
The survey questions covered various aspects of a patient’s quality of life, including:
- How they felt they were functioning physically and emotionally
- Whether or not they were fatigued continuously
- If they experienced shortness of breath or insomnia
“The net benefit of pleurectomy and decortication justifies the procedure in the majority of patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma.” — Dr. Wickii Vigneswaran
Dr. Vigneswaran’s Healing Philosophy
Dr. Vigneswaran believes that a patient’s quality of life is important, which is why he focuses on procedures that are minimally invasive and ones that studies have shown to improve quality of life.
“We have multidisciplinary cancer care. The unique thing about Loyola is actually the patients are seen by the multiple specialists who are going to be involved in their care at the same time, during the same settings. And we all discuss about the patient on the day they are here, and then we really give the message to the patient at the same time as a group.” — Dr. Wickii Vigneswaran