Gynecologic Oncologist hasTreatment Of Women’s Cancers Using Advanced Robotics
By Mel Fabrikant Friday, May 09 2008 @ 07:21 PM EDT
The Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center welcomes gynecologic oncologist Babak Litkouhi, M.D. of Ridgewood, who has undergone extensive training in traditional “open,” laparoscopic, and robotic surgical procedures for the diagnosis and treatment of women’s cancers. Dr. Litkouhi, a full-time attending in the Division of Gynecologic Oncology, completed his three-year fellowship at the gynecologic oncology program of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School in Boston.
“The addition of Dr. Litkouhi to our gynecologic oncology team will enable us to expand our cutting-edge program in the use of robotic surgery to treat some gynecologic cancers, which is the wave of the future in this specialty,” says Andrew L. Pecora, M.D., chairman and executive administrative director of The Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center. “He brings exciting research and clinical skills to our center that will broaden our reach in fighting devastating gynecologic cancers.”
Dr. Litkouhi says he looks forward to working with the chief of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology, Daniel H. Smith, M.D., in expanding The Cancer Center’s treatment capabilities in the areas of complex ovarian cancer and minimally invasive procedures, including robotic surgery for endometrial, cervical, and early ovarian cancers. “Hackensack University Medical Center is a leader in robotic technology on the East Coast.” he says. “I was attracted to the potential that exists here to take robotic surgery in gynecologic oncology to the next level.”
Dr. Litkouhi grew up in the area says he is glad to be back in New Jersey after completing his fellowship in Boston. He graduated summa cum laude with a degree in mechanical engineering from The Cooper Union in New York City, received his medical degree with distinction in research from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and was a resident and chief administrative resident in obstetrics/gynecology at Yale-New Haven Hospital/Yale School of Medicine.
Many gynecologic surgeries for the staging and treatment of women’s cancers can be accomplished today using minimally invasive techniques with the laparoscope or the robotic da Vinci Surgical System™. Dr. Litkouhi is skilled in using these technologies to stage endometrial (uterine) and early ovarian cancer and to treat cervical and endometrial cancers. His expertise also includes performing complex “open” surgery for the treatment of advanced and widely metastatic ovarian cancer and a variety of non-cancerous complex gynecologic conditions, such as large fibroids or advanced endometriosis, which can greatly alter normal anatomic structures and compromise the female reproductive system.
During his fellowship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Dr. Litkouhi also trained extensively in the treatment of molar pregnancies and gestational trophoblastic disease at the renowned New England Trophoblastic Disease Center, one of the leading national and international referral centers for this type of cancer. Gestational trophoblastic disease arises during early pregnancy from tissues that develop into the placenta. The tumor can be benign or malignant and spread outside the uterus.
Dr. Litkouhi is also experienced in administering chemotherapy for the treatment of gynecologic cancers, including intraperitoneal (IP) chemotherapy to treat advanced ovarian cancer. IP chemotherapy — which places the chemotherapeutic drugs directly into the abdomen (peritoneal cavity) to treat the area after cancer has been removed surgically — is now being used to treat women with stage III and stage IV ovarian cancer.
“I enjoy performing the surgeries and the treatments some women require after surgery,” he says. “I also like the challenges of handling the complex issues involved with treating gynecologic cancers and the relationships I build with my patients.”
After graduating from The Cooper Union with a degree in mechanical engineering, Dr. Litkouhi says he expected he would go into orthopedics after medical school. But instead, the field of obstetrics/gynecology beckoned, and he was later inspired by one of his attending physicians at Yale to pursue gynecologic oncology.
During college and medical school, Dr. Litkouhi was involved in research in orthopedics and cryopreservation technology for oocyte (female egg) banking. During his residency and fellowship, he concentrated on basic and clinical research in ovarian cancer. He has been published in Gynecologic Oncology, Neoplasia, Cryo-letters, and Cryobiology. His research has been presented at meetings of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists, and the American Orthopaedic Association. He was honored with the Meehan-Miller Award for Academic Scholarship and as Resident with Special Excellence in Endoscopic Procedures from the Department of OB/GYN at Yale-New Haven Hospital. He is a member of the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
The Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center is New Jersey’s largest and the one ranked the best cancer center in the state by New York magazine. The Cancer Center focuses on transforming cancer care by offering multidisciplinary care, personalized treatment, innovative research, superior outcomes, and patient satisfaction within 14 disease-specific, treatment, or research divisions. For more information about The Cancer Center, call 201-996-5900 or visit www.humc.com.