The OSUCCC – James is a leader in offering some of the world’s most advanced, sophisticated surgeries for cancer patients.

Our multidisciplinary team of surgeons tailors surgical treatments to each patient’s tumor, allowing the best chance of controlling it while minimizing side effects or complications.

No cancer is routine, and the OSUCCC – James subspecialists may recommend one or more of the following surgical treatments based on your individual needs to manage your specific cancer.

Types of Surgery

Preventive Surgery

Preventative surgery, also called prophylactic surgery, involves removing organs or body tissues that may currently appear healthy but is likely to become cancerous in the future. Examples might include removing the breast when a patient shows early signs or a genetic history of breast cancer or removing polyps from the colon. 

Diagnostic Surgery

During diagnostic surgery, the OSUCCC – James subspecialist removes a tissue sample to test it to determine if it is cancerous and to determine what kind of cancer it is. 

Staging Surgery

Staging surgery helps determine how far and in what areas cancer may have spread. Staging surgery procedures may include laparotomy (an abdominal incision) or laparoscopy (inserting a fiber optic instrument through the abdominal wall to view the organs). 

Curative Surgery

The OSUCCC – James experts perform curative surgery when cancer is found in one area of the body and they have determined that potentially all of the cancer can be safely removed. They may also use curative surgery along with other treatments, such as radiation therapy or chemotherapy, before or after surgery. In some cases, radiation treatment is used during an operation, which is called intraoperative radiation therapy. 

Debulking Surgery

Debulking (cytoreductive) surgery involves removing only part of the cancer because of potential danger to nearby organs or tissues. Once the tumor size is surgically reduced, the rest of the tumor can be treated with radiation or chemotherapy. 

Palliative Surgery

Palliative surgery is used to treat pain, disability or other problems caused by advanced cancer. For example, in the case of an abdominal cancer in which the tumor has grown to block the intestine, the experts will use palliative surgery to remove the blockage. 

Supportive Surgery 

The OSUCCC – James experts may perform supportive procedures to help with other kinds of treatment, such as inserting a catheter or infusion port in a large vein. The port can then be used for treatments or blood withdrawal.  

Restorative/Reconstructive Surgery

The OSUCCC – James experts perform restorative/reconstructive surgery to restore function or the way a particular body part looks after major cancer surgery. Examples include breast reconstruction after a mastectomy, or the use of tissue flaps, bone grafts or other prosthetic after surgery for head and neck cancers. 

Surgical Techniques 

The OSUCCC — James surgical specialists provide cancer patients with expert, innovative cancer surgery in a caring, supportive environment.

There is no such thing as a routine cancer, and every person’s disease is different, with unique genes and molecules driving that disorder. At the OSUCCC – James, our surgical oncology team of cancer specialists – one of the largest and most experienced in the nation – are world-renowned experts who reach across medical disciplines (medical oncology, radiation oncology, molecular and biological pathology) to design the very best treatment plans and therapies that target each patient’s specific disease. 

Our internationally recognized surgeons specialize in the most current, innovative surgical techniques, including: 

Laser Surgery

Instead of a scalpel, the experts can sometimes use a laser, which is a focused beam of light energy used for precise surgical work. In some cases, it may be also combined with fiber optics, which provides the specialists with a clear view of the area being treated. 

Lasers are also used in a kind of surgery called photoablation, which destroys cancerous tissues, or photocoagulation, which seals tissues. 

This type of surgery is often used to relieve symptoms, such as when large tumors block the trachea or esophagus, causing problems breathing or eating. 


Cryosurgery uses liquid nitrogen or an ultra-cold probe to freeze and kill abnormal cells. It is often highly effective for treating pre-cancerous conditions like those affecting the skin, cervix, liver, penis and prostate. The experts use an ultrasound or CT scan to guide this application, which limits damage to healthy tissue in the same area.


Electrosurgery utilizes high-frequency electrical currents to destroy cells. It is often effective in treating skin and oral cancer. 

Mohs Surgery

In Mohs micrographic surgery, skin cancer experts remove one very thin layer of tissue at a time. After each layer is removed, specialists examine the tissue under a microscope, continuing this removal until they non-cancerous layer is reached.

Laparoscopic Surgery

A laparoscope is a long, thin, flexible tube inserted into the body to provide a clearer view of the affected areas. It can be used to remove tissue samples for biopsy or in combination with other instruments to perform surgery without creating a large incision, which may help reduce blood loss and discomfort while also shortening healing time. Laparoscopic surgery is effective for treating many cancers, including colonrectum, liver, prostate, uterus and kidney

Robotic Surgery/Minimally Invasive Surgery

Robotic surgery is a type of laparoscopic surgery in which specialists use highly advanced technology and specialized instruments to make possible extremely precise surgery in difficult to reach body cavities. Robotic surgery is highly safe and effective for cancers of the colon, prostate and uterus. 

Thorascopic Surgery  

In thorascopic surgery, the thoracic surgical oncologist inserts a narrow, rigid tube (thorascope) into the chest, which provides a clear view of the area. Tissue samples from the chest wall lining are removed for biopsy, fluid can be drained and small tumors on the surface of the lung can be removed. 

Cranial Base Surgery

The cranial base (skull base) center at the OSUCCC – James provides comprehensive, personalized care for disorders affecting the skull base, paranasal sinuses, spine and brain. Our surgeons are recognized leaders in minimally invasive surgical approaches, such as the endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA) and endoscopic brain surgery, as well as in traditional neuro surgery. Our expert skull base reconstruction surgeons use state-of-the-art techniques to provide restoration of form and function for patients who might otherwise be left with a deficit. 

(Source: National Cancer Institute

If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, would like a second opinion or would like to speak with a surgical oncology specialist, please call The James Line at 800-293-5066 or 614-293-5066 to make an appointment.

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The James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute

460 West 10th Avenue

Columbus, Ohio 43210

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