Internationally renowned robotic thoracic surgeon joins the WVU Heart and Vascular Institute

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Alper Toker, M.D., an experienced thoracic surgeon who is internationally recognized for his expertise in minimally invasive/robotic thoracic surgery, has joined the WVU Heart and Vascular Institute and the Department of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery of the WVU School of Medicine.

Alper Toker, M.D.
Alper Toker, M.D.

“We are very proud to welcome Dr. Toker to WVU Medicine. As an expert in tracheal reconstructive surgery, he brings a level of expertise not otherwise available in our part of the country,” Vinay Badhwar, M.D., chair of the Department of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery and executive chair of the WVU Heart and Vascular Institute, said. “Dr. Toker is a world authority and thought leader. He recently served as president of the European Society of Thoracic Surgery, which is one of the most prestigious thoracic surgery societies in the world. He brings a set of skills that complements our existing outstanding robotic thoracic surgery program. Together with Drs. Abbas, Buenaventura, Hayanga, and colleagues, Dr. Toker’s arrival helps catapult our thoracic program to be one of the most advanced in the United States.”

In addition to his role with the European Society of Thoracic Surgery, Dr. Toker has held many other leadership positons in various international societies. He also serves on the editorial board of thoracic and cardiovascular journals and has published close to 200 scientific publications in various international journals. 

He is one of the pioneers of the robotic surgery for myasthenia gravis, a chronic autoimmune disease in which the skeletal muscles that are responsible for breathing and moving parts of the body, such as the arms and legs, become weak, resulting in difficulty swallowing, double vision, unsteady gait, and drooping of the eyelids and mouth. Thymectomy in this condition can be curative. He is also a leader in tracheal and airway surgery.

At WVU Medicine, Toker leads the tracheal surgery program, robotic thymus/mediastinal surgery, extended surgery for lung cancer, the mesothelioma program, and the chest wall surgery program. He sees patients in both the WVU Heart and Vascular Institute and the WVU Cancer Institute.

“On behalf of the WVU thoracic surgical program, I am so pleased to welcome Dr. Toker,” Ghulam Abbas, M.D., chief of the Division of Thoracic Surgery, said. “Dr. Toker is undoubtedly one of the most influential thoracic surgeons in the field of robotic surgery for myasthenia gravis and mediastinal tumors. He is also equally known for tracheal and airway surgery. Our multi-state region lacks such expertise, and we are fortunate to have such a skilled surgeon to join us.”

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