Specialty: Pleural Mesothelioma
Procedure: Robotic Surgery
Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery
Baylor College of Medicine
1 Baylor Plaza
Houston TX 77030
Talented Robotic Surgeon and Mesothelioma Advocate
Thoracic surgeon, Dr. Taylor Ripley, is an associate professor of surgery at Baylor College of Medicine, replacing renowned mesothelioma specialist, Dr. David Sugarbaker, after his passing in August 2018. At only 41 years old, Dr. Ripley brings over 10 years of mesothelioma-based experience to his new role, with the hope of finding a cure for mesothelioma patients around the world.
Working in Baylor’s division of General Thoracic Surgery, Dr. Ripley is also the director of the Mesothelioma Treatment Center in the hospital’s Baylor Lung Institute, founded by Dr. Sugarbaker. Recruited by Dr. Sugarbaker himself, Dr. Ripley has extensive knowledge in the mesothelioma field and thorough expertise in thoracic and robotic surgeries.
Dr. Kent Osborne, director of the NCI-designated Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center at Baylor, says:
Dr. Ripley’s recruitment will add to and expand our expertise, thereby assuring that our patients receive unparalleled care.
About Dr. Ripley and Mesothelioma Veteran Patients
Dr. Taylor Ripley is one of the top medical professionals in his field. His primary focus is on the treatment of mesothelioma patients, preferring robotic surgery to minimize the size of surgical incisions. This decreases the risk of infection and reduces recovery time. Ripley believes that his new role at Baylor will allow him to develop a more personalized approach to his treatment plans and enable him to spend more time with his patients.
With the precision of a top-class surgeon and the empathy of a family doctor, Ripley’s multi-dimensional approach to making his patients feel comfortable and confident in his care is what sets him apart as a leader in mesothelioma treatment.
This personalized care is particularly important for military veterans who may have developed mesothelioma as a result of coming into contact with asbestos throughout their years in service. Dr. Ripley is committed to providing quality care for military veterans with mesothelioma by offering less invasive procedures to give patients a better quality of life post-surgery.
Dr. Ripley’s clinical focus in on the treatment of mesothelioma patients at Baylor College of Medicine, but he also treats those with a variety of thoracic (lung-based) cancers. His research lab studies tumor energetics, which Ripley believes will increase a tumor’s susceptibility to treatment.
Dr. Ripley’s Background
Dr. Ripley began his medical education with a degree in biochemistry at Boston College. He then went onto medical school at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine before securing a fellowship in thoracic surgery at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York. It was during this fellowship that Dr. Ripley came into contact with mesothelioma for the first time, a rare disease that many doctors will never come across in their careers.
The field is incredibly specialized, but Dr. Ripley had the opportunity to train under some of the best mesothelioma surgeons in the world, including the late Dr. David Sugarbaker. Colloquially named ‘Mr. Mesothelioma,’ Dr. Sugarbaker was a pioneering oncologist in the mesothelioma field. Surgeons who trained under him are most equipped to take mesothelioma treatment forwards and find alternative procedures to reduce the chance of recurring tumors. Dr. Ripley will, undoubtedly, wish to continue this legacy at Baylor.
Following his time at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Dr. Ripley then moved onto a second fellowship at the National Cancer Institute, before taking up his residency at the University of Colorado.
Specializing in Pleural Mesothelioma Treatment
Dr. Ripley has worked with mesothelioma patients for over a decade, dedicating the majority of his career to finding ways to perform surgery on eligible patients. As a certified general surgeon, Dr. Ripley also practices non-mesothelioma related operations, including lung, oesophageal and endobronchial issues.
Pleural mesothelioma affects the membrane lining the lungs and is the most common form of this rare disease. There are a few standard procedures available to prolong life and manage mesothelioma symptoms, but at present, there is no cure. Dr. Ripley specializes in pleural mesothelioma cases, training under renowned surgeons such as Dr. Valerie Rusch, who he credits with piquing his interest in mesothelioma during his fellowship at New York’s Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
Ripley’s interest in mesothelioma increased throughout his studies as a thoracic oncologist at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland. He spent four years in this position and established himself as a leader in surgical, clinical and investigational research. Training with established mesothelioma specialist, Dr. Raffit Hassan, Ripley says he was drawn to the “family-centric approach to caring for a person with mesothelioma.”
I enjoy dealing with mesothelioma patients because I get to know them so well. — Dr. Taylor Ripley
Dr. Ripley’s bedside manner indisputably makes him a popular doctor amongst his patients and co-workers, ensuring the best possible care both pre and postoperatively.
Always at the forefront of technology, Dr. Ripley specializes in robotic surgery; a cutting-edge field that allows surgeons to perform traditional invasive procedures in a safer and much less aggressive manner. Dr. Ripley believes that this not only prevents unnecessary incisions but also helps the patient to recover more quickly.
The minimally-invasive surgical approach is particularly important when it comes to older or weaker patients who may require more rehabilitation after such an extensive procedure. Dr. Ripley hopes that veterans will benefit from robotic surgery as it allows them a better quality of life.
In addition to his day-to-day role of treating mesothelioma patients, Dr. Ripley also focuses on increasing the mesothelioma program at Baylor to ensure a steady flow of medical trials. These programs are essential for future research and typically take place on a regular basis.
Achievements and Awards
In 2016, Dr. Ripley was awarded the NCI Director’s Innovation Award while working as an associate professor of surgery at the National Cancer Institute. The award was granted for his work in targeting particular mutations for the treatment of esophageal adenocarcinoma.
As a student at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, he was also awarded the Dan May Scholarship—a science grant which he used to further his research.
Throughout his career, Dr. Ripley has lectured across the U.S. and published many works on the subject of thoracic oncology and tumor metabolism. He collaborated with Dr. Valerie Rusch to create one of his most celebrated works, ‘TSRA Operative Dictations in Cardiothoracic Surgery,’ in 2014. Ripley has also been cited in numerous case studies, publications and presentations on the treatment of mesothelioma and other aggressive cell mutations.
Working With Specialists Like Dr. Ripley
If you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma, it’s critical to see a mesothelioma specialist, such as Dr. Taylor Ripley for a personalized treatment plan. Veterans can seek treatment within the VA Healthcare System or through a private specialist. Learn more about filing a VA claim to receive benefits.