General Surgery

Our general surgery specialists take care of patients requiring:

  • Treatment for injuries from traumatic accidents
  • Surgery for all types of cancer (breast, colon, lung, etc.)
  • Thoracic (chest) surgery, major and minor abdominal procedures, including digestive tract, biliary tract (liver, gallbladder, pancreas) and hernias
  • Vascular surgery on the circulatory system (arteries and veins)
  • Endocrine system procedures (thyroid and parathyroid glands that produce the body’s hormones)
  • Skin and soft tissue surgery

All of our general surgeons sub-specialize within their field, advancing their skills in areas such as:

  • Laparoscopic (minimally invasive) abdominal surgery and hernia repair
  • Thyroid and parathyroid procedures
  • Tissue-conserving breast-cancer surgery
  • Vascular surgery (to open up blockages in the carotid and aortic arteries, bypass surgery for arterial obstructions in the legs, and for repair of abdominal aortic aneurysms)
  • Phlebology (including minimally-invasive varicose vein surgery)
  • Nissenfundoplication (for heartburn)
  • Bariatric surgery (to treat morbid obesity)
  • Fast-track colorectal and intestinal surgery

Robotic Surgery

Cayuga Health is home to the da Vinci® XI™ Surgical System, the most advanced minimally invasive option for complex surgeries in the areas of colorectal, general, gynecologic and urologic surgery.

By enabling efficient access throughout the abdomen or chest, the da Vinci Xi System expands upon core da Vinci System features, including wristed instruments, 3D-HD visualization, intuitive motion, and an ergonomic design. As with all da Vinci Surgical Systems, the surgeon is 100% in control of the robotic-assisted da Vinci System, which translates his/her hand movements into smaller, more precise movements of tiny instruments inside the patient’s body. The Xi System’s immersive 3D-HD vision system provides surgeons a highly magnified view, virtually extending their eyes and hands into the patient.

Key Features Include:

  • A new overhead instrument arm architecture designed to facilitate anatomical access from virtually any position.
  • A new endoscope digital architecture that creates a simpler, more compact design with improved vision definition and clarity.
  • An ability to attach the endoscope to any arm, providing flexibility for visualizing the surgical site.
  • Smaller, thinner arms with newly designed joints that offer a greater range of motion than ever before.
  • Longer instrument shafts designed to give surgeons greater operative reach.

The da Vinci Xi System is an expandable technology platform that is designed to accommodate and seamlessly integrate a range of current technologies, as well as future innovations, in areas such as imaging, advanced instruments and anatomical access. We are truly thrilled to be a leader in this field and look forward to continue bringing Ithaca, Cortland, and Schuyler minimally invasive surgical options.

How it Works

The da Vinci Xi has two separate but connected sections:

The tower, which is positioned directly over the patient during surgery, contains the robot’s four arms—three that can hold a multitude of different surgical instruments, and a fourth that holds the system’s 3-D cameras. These arms are controlled by a computer that exactly replicates the movements of the operating surgeon.

The console is where the surgeon sits and operates the robot’s controls while looking into a stereoscopic monitor that provides a magnified, high definition 3-D view of the surgical site. The surgeon manipulates the robot’s four arms by maneuvering two master controls that provide fingertip precision of movement.

The surgeon also operates a footswitch that provides additional options, such as the ability to switch between two different energy sources. Touchpads allow the surgeon to easily adjust video, audio and system settings, while the ergonomic console and the alignment of the controls and monitor are designed to keep the surgeon in a relaxed, focused position at all times.

Finally, additional video screens link in the rest of the surgical team by providing a two-dimensional view of what the surgeon is looking at through the da Vinci’s stereoptic monitor.

Ear-Nose-Throat (Otorhinolaryngology) and Head and Neck Surgery

Our ENT and Head and Neck surgeons treat a wide range of acute and chronic problems, involving both illness and congenital conditions, such as:

  • Severe snoring and obstructive sleep apnea
  • Functional endoscopic sinus surgery or FESS (to treat chronic sinus infections)
  • Microlaryngoscopic surgery (to repair damaged vocal cords)
  • Removal of tonsils and adenoids
  • Myringotomy and tubes (to drain fluid from the ear)
  • Septoplasty (to improve breathing)
  • Tympanoplasty (to repair eardrum injuries)
  • Bronchoscopy (to diagnose congenital malformations of the trachea and larynx, and to remove foreign bodies)
  • Parathyroid surgery

Hand Surgery

Fellowship-trained reconstructive and orthopedic surgeons perform hand surgery at Cayuga Medical Center and Surgicare. Powerful surgical microscopes enable them to repair the delicate bones, tendons, ligaments, and nerves located in the hands and wrists:

  • Hand injuries resulting from traumatic accident
  • Sports-related injuries
  • Wrist joint arthroscopy for injuries due to trauma or repetitive motion
  • Endoscopic carpal tunnel surgery to relieve nerve compression
  • Reconstruction and replacement of painful arthritic joints

Head and Neck Surgery

In addition to ENT surgery, these surgeons perform cleft lip and palate repair and delicate phonosurgical and laryngeal framework surgery for diseases of the larynx.

  • Using a multidisciplinary approach and the newest surgical technology, we treat patients at Cayuga Medical Center with advanced cancers of the nose, mouth, throat, and esophagus.
  • Our ability to offer conservation surgery and functional reconstruction helps to preserve the swallowing, vocal, and breathing functions while eradicating the cancer and leaving patients cosmetically intact.

Gastroenterology and Endoscopy

The gastroenterologists at Cayuga Medical Center are at the leading edge of their field of specialty. They diagnose and treat digestive tract problems including swallowing difficulties, stomach ailments, liver disease, and problems affecting the intestines and colon. In their work, gastroenterologists use a narrow, flexible tube with a light source and a tiny video camera at its tip. This is inserted into the body, giving a detailed look inside the digestive tract.

We offer comprehensive video-endoscopy services at both the medical center and at Surgicare, on the Convenient Care Campus at Ithaca, including both EGD (esophagogastroduodenoscopy) and colonoscopy.

Additional diagnostic modalities include:

  • esophageal manometry
  • 24-hour wireless esophageal pH testing for diagnosing gastroesophageal reflux disease (known as GERD or heartburn)
  • capsule endoscopy to identify diseases of the small intestine, which are typically difficult to diagnose using radiologic or endoscope technologies
  • biliary endoscopy
  • liver

Maxillofacial and Oral Surgery for the Face and Facial Bones

This field of surgery involves the face and facial bones, nasal surgery, orthognathic surgery (jawbone realignment), cleft lip and palate surgery, cheek bone and chin surgery, arthroscopic temporomandibular (TMJ) surgery, extractions and jaw implants (permanent replacement of missing teeth and jaw reconstruction).

Cleft Palate and Deformities Team

Under the leadership of Dr. Jeffrey Lewis, a surgeon specializing in facial plastics and maxillofacial surgery, our Cleft Facial and Deformities Team provides needed support for cleft palate patients and their families. Since our program started, we have evaluated more than 100 children and a number of adults with cleft lip, cleft palate, and other deformities. Our team is eager to provide services to children of all ages, and adults as well.

  • The team includes approximately 20 area specialists in oral and maxillofacial surgery, pediatric medicine, plastic surgery, ear-nose-throat, maternal-child care, audiology, speech and occupational therapy, social work, developmental psychology, dentistry, orthodontics, genetics, early intervention program, and parent support group.
  • These specialists work together to provide comprehensive care and to facilitate a smooth transition into the care network for infants and their families.


A team of neurosurgeons with more than thirty years of collective experience performs neurosurgery at Cayuga Medical Center. They work with a highly trained group of operating-room and intensive-care-unit professionals to treat a wide variety of neurosurgical problems affecting the spine, neck, and brain, including:

  • Herniated disks, spinal fusions, and lumbar stenosis (impinged nerve functioning due to narrowing of the spinal canal)
  • Benign and malignant tumors of the brain and spine
  • Aneurysms and other hemorrhages in the brain, brain injury from trauma or stroke
  • Hydrocephalus (accumulated fluid in the brain)
  • Fractures of the neck and spine

Obstetric and Gynecological Surgery Includes VBAC

Although vaginal birth after a previous c-section (VBAC) is now considered to be a safe childbirth choice for many mothers, not many hospitals offer this option to expectant mothers. At Cayuga Medical Center, VBAC is available as part of our commitment to provide a variety of birthing options to our community.

Our Ob-Gyn surgeons also perform extensive specialty surgeries:

  • Operative hysteroscopy to correct causes of uterine internal bleeding
  • Endometrial ablation for menorrhagia (heavy menstrual bleeding)
  • Laparoscopically-assisted hysterectomy
  • Myomectomy to remove uterine fibroids
  • Tubal ligation to prevent pregnancy
  • Cesarean section
  • Surgery for prolapse of the female genital organs, including bladder prolapse and urinary incontinence

Ophthalmologic (Eye) Surgeons at Leading Edge

Due to the ongoing involvement of our eye surgeons in the clinical testing and development of surgical instruments, phacoemulsification (lens extraction) equipment, and lens implantation devices, people in our region have access to the very newest technology, making cataract surgery safer for our patients. Our medical staff includes specialists in both adult and pediatric ophthalmology.

Eye surgeons on staff at Cayuga Medical Center routinely perform:

  • Eye trauma surgery
  • Advanced surgery for cataract removal and lens replacement
  • Infant eye exams and pediatric surgery for amblyopia and strabismus
  • Glaucoma surgery
  • Eyelid and eye muscle surgery
  • Repair of detached retina and retina surgery for those with eye damage from diabetes
  • Refractive surgery (to correct nearsightedness and astigmatism)

Orthopedic Surgery

Our board-certified orthopedic surgeons operate at both Cayuga Medical Center and Surgicare. They offer the latest, minimally invasive approaches for joint replacement and revision, operating through small incisions. They routinely introduce new surgical procedures, such as the use of custom-made models for minimally invasive knee-replacement surgery, Copeland shoulder resurfacing for painful arthritis, and elbow arthroscopy to treat joint derangement. Our orthopedists treat:

  • Fracture surgery for accident victims
  • All types of sports-related injuries
  • Specialized arthroscopic shoulder, knee, wrist, and hand surgery, including endoscopic carpal tunnel surgery
  • Arthroscopically-assisted ligament reconstruction
  • Tendon repair and fracture reduction
  • Total joint replacements of the hip, elbow, shoulder and other joints, including both total and unicondylar knee replacement
  • Minimally invasive joint revision, for repair and replacement of existing joint replacements

Joint Solutions: State-of-the-art Joint Replacement at CMC

Joint pain can be caused by injury or inflammation to the joint. The most common cause of joint inflammation is osteoarthritis. This occurs when the cartilage covering the ends of the bones wears away, resulting in pain and stiffness.

Initially, osteoarthritis can be treated conservatively with medication, weight loss, exercise to increase range of motion and gain strength, and the use of an assistive device (such as a cane) to relieve stress on the joint.

The goal in treating inflammation is to relieve pain and improve joint function. However, when conservative measures are unsuccessful and the pain you experience diminishes your quality of life, your doctor may recommend total joint replacement surgery.

Let us tell you about Joint Solutions.

The name Joint Solutions reflects the goal of our program: To assist patients in working toward a solution to joint pain and deteriorating function.

We know from patient satisfaction surveys that our patients are satisfied with the education we provide throughout the program, the quality of care they receive, and the favorable outcomes from joint replacement surgery. Knowledge is the power that motivates joint replacement patients to strive for and gain optimal function. As a result, they can resume their lives without the pain they lived with prior to surgery.

Plastic, Cosmetic, and Reconstructive Surgery

Our surgical specialists are fellowship-trained and very experienced. They perform both facial plastic surgery and reconstruction following surgery for cancer and trauma. They operate at Surgicare and Cayuga Medical Center, routinely handling:

  • Facial and nasal surgery, both reconstructive and cosmetic
  • Reconstruction after the excision of tumors
  • Mammoplasty (breast reconstruction) and TRAM flap or transverse rectus abdominusmyocutaneous flap (breast reconstruction with skin and fatty tissue from the patient’s abdomen)
  • Hand surgery, including the reattachment of severed fingers; endoscopic carpal tunnel surgery; nerve surgery and other forms of microsurgery
  • Liposuction to remove fat and contour the body
  • The newest techniques for chronic wound care

Podiatry­: Surgery for the Feet

Our podiatrists perform a number of surgical procedures to correct painful foot problems.

  • Realignment of toe joints deformed by bunion, joint implants, and bone fusion
  • Hammer toe correction
  • Metatarsal surgery to alleviate pain and callous formation
  • In the realm of soft tissue surgery, they treat neuromas (pinched nerves), tarsal tunnel release, soft tissue tumors (cysts and ganglions), plantar fasciotomies
  • Surgical and laser wart removal
  • Shock-wave therapy to treat heel pain

Urologic Surgery

Urologists at Cayuga Medical Center provide medical and surgical treatment for diseases of the urinary tract in women and men, and the reproductive tract in men. They offer the newest approaches for treating bladder cancer and take care of patients requiring:

  • Prostate surgery
  • Microsurgery for male infertility
  • Medical and surgical treatment for erectile dysfunction
  • Circumcision and surgery to correct undescended testicles in young boys
  • Medical and surgical treatment for incontinence in women related to childbirth
  • Minimally invasive lithotripsy to break up painful kidney stones from outside of the body using shock waves, with no cutting or incision involved (patients are able to return home the same day)
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