Justin Blasberg, MD, MPH, is a thoracic surgeon who performs minimally invasive robotic surgeries of the lung, esophagus, mediastinal tumors, and the diaphragm, as well as traditional open surgeries when necessary. He also specializes in rib plating and chest wall deformities, including pectus excavatum surgery, and rare thoracic outlet decompression procedures for patients with neurogenic or vascular thoracic outlet syndrome.
“There were doctors in my family, so I always had an interest in medicine, and I was really inspired by mentors in surgery during medical school,” Dr. Blasberg says. “Given the prevalence of lung cancer in the United States, I felt that it was a field where I would find the greatest room for improvement and where I could make the biggest impact.”
Dr. Blasberg, who is the director of robotic thoracic surgery at Yale, says thoracic cancer is a satisfying field because the surgical treatments can be so beneficial. Robotic surgery in particular allows patients to recover more quickly and go home sooner with less pain medication. “Therefore, I know what we do makes a big impact on prognosis and survival,” he says. “It’s particularly rewarding when we can cure a life-threatening problem.”
In addition to caring for patients, Dr. Blasberg serves as medical director of care experience for Yale Medicine’s Department of Surgery. He also is a researcher with a focus on surgical outcomes, which involves looking at data to track how patients in specific subsets have done in the past with various operations and under various circumstances, and then applying that data to clinical recommendations that can improve care.
He has helped develop clinical guidelines that help other doctors care for patients, and participated in the development and leadership of clinical trials at Yale and in collaboration with other thoracic programs across the country. “Our goal is to provide an opportunity for patients to receive effective treatments for lung cancer that have not yet been approved for use in specific circumstances or in specific stages of disease,” Dr. Blasberg says.
Smilow Cancer Hospital, Yale Medicine