Department of Surgery

Welcome to the Department of Surgery (2)
We are Specialists in Cardiovascular,
Breast/Endocrine, and Thoracic Surgery.

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About Us

Message from the professor of the division of breast, endocrine and thoracic surgery

Ken-ichi ITO

Ken-ichi Ito
Professor of breast,endocrine and thoracic surgery

The division of breast, endocrine and thoracic surgery at Shinshu University Hospital is in charge of two clinical departments—breast and endocrine surgery, and thoracic surgery. We mainly provide surgical care for tumors, including breast cancer, lung cancer, thyroid cancer, and mediastinal tumors.

Cancer care includes understanding the molecular biology of tumors, but it has also become necessary to think in terms of new treatment strategies. I believe advancements will continue to be made in “precision medicine,” in which the characteristics of each tumor are investigated and appropriate individualized care is provided. In our department, we strive to train “surgeon scientists” who can provide treatment based on a scientific understanding of tumors, and have devoted ourselves to basic medical research on tumors. Having clinicians engage in research while young prepares them to face the questions and problems they experience in the clinic, and fosters “academic surgeons” who have the creativity they need to thrive on the global stage.

At the same time, our department aims to produce medical professionals with superior clinical skills and the ability to think scientifically, as well as with great humanity. We maintain a liberal atmosphere that encourages people to show the world the clinical and research successes made at Shinshu. I hope the members of the department can work together to provide the region with highly specialized surgical care. I look forward to working with you all.

Breast, endocrine and thoracic surgery, Ken-ichi Ito

Sentinel node biopsy

Conventional breast cancer surgery has suffered from the sequelae caused by removal of the axillary lymph nodes such as swelling of the arm of the affected side. Our division provides surgery combined with sentinel node biopsies for patients with early-stage breast cancer. The lymph nodes into which the tumor first pours are identified during surgery and the presence or absence of cancer metastasis is confirmed during surgery using histopathological testing. If no metastasis exists, dissection of the axillary lymph nodes can be omitted.

Preoperative spreading diagnosis using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the breast

MRI The use of MRI of the breast to accurately diagnose how far the cancer has spread has made judicious breast-conserving surgery possible. In cooperation with radiologists specializing in breast cancer, our division conducts a careful, detailed preoperative examination of each patient.

Diagnosis and treatment of thyroid disease

Our division has a 60-year history of diagnosing and treating thyroid disease. Engaged in finding suitable treatments that leverage accumulated experience and new knowledge, we use a wealth of data to conduct both basic and clinical research.

Shinshu University Respiratory Center (SURC)

Shinshu University Hospital combined its Department of Respiratory Medicine and Division of Thoracic Surgery to open the Respiratory Center in September 2007. The Respiratory Center provides integrated service from diagnosis to treatment with the aim of smooth diagnosis and treatment for complex and advanced respiratory disease. The Center provides cutting-edge medical care, including diagnosis and treatment using bronchoscopy and lung resection using thoracoscopy. As a Core Center of Nagano Prefecture, we practice state-of-the-art medical care both in the hospital and in close contact with the community.

Video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS)


We have actively invested in VATS in an effort to perform full resections and leave small surgical wounds, aiming to reduce patient burden without compromising curability. VATS is characterized by being less painful and carrying a reduced risk of complications due to earlier postoperative ambulation; it also has the major advantage of increased cosmetics. Our division has created an environment that enables on-site training using a thoracoscopic surgery simulator and makes efforts daily to acquire and uphold safer and more accurate surgical techniques.

Surgery using 3D imaging

YB-1 YB-1

To enable safe, reliable surgeries, we create preoperative 3D images of each patient’s pulmonary blood vessels and bronchi. To prepare for lung segmentectomies, which are especially difficult, we perform careful preoperative simulations. During surgery, we use an iPad to check their 3D findings as well as the actual anatomy.