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The one hundred honoree: David W. Rattner, MD

Profile in Medicine

The one hundred honoree: David W. Rattner, MD

Mass General Giving

The word “surgery” has not typically conjured up images of minimally invasive techniques. However, under the leadership of David Rattner, MD, Mass General has introduced a strong program of minimally invasive techniques to treat many types of cancer. As chief of the Division of General and Gastrointestinal Surgery, Dr. Rattner’s surgical practice routinely treats patients with colon cancer, gastric cancer and esophageal cancer. He has also mentored the physician leadership of many programs in the division throughout their careers, building a talented and compassionate team of surgeons.

Dr. Rattner and his team were among the first to introduce minimally invasive procedures to treat abdominal cancer, while advancing established programs for pancreatic, colon, gastro-esophageal and endocrine cancers. In the field of rectal cancer, Dr. Rattner and his team have pioneered the new minimally invasive technique of NOTES (Natural Orifice Translumenal Endoscopic Surgery) from experimental stages all the way through to human application. With the advent of these procedures, surgeries are less intrusive and often result in more positive outcomes for patients.

Beyond his surgical practice, Dr. Rattner has led the Cancer Program Redesign Effort for the Colon Cancer Program, with a focus on shortening a patient’s hospital stay and minimizing cost. With innumerable benefits for the patients and the health system overall, this emphasis on efficiency is commendable, and the effects can be seen in Dr. Rattner’s prolific practice.