Hindman’s surgery goes as planned

The mayor has said
he will take five to six weeks off to recover.
Tuesday, July 8, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 7:04 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 7, 2008

Mayor Darwin Hindman’s five-hour operation on Monday to remove the beginning signs of esophageal cancer went smoothly, according to information relayed by his wife.

Axie Hindman provided an update on the surgery in Pittsburgh by notifying the city manager’s office about 1 p.m. Monday, city spokesman Robert Ross said. Other details about the surgery or Hindman’s condition were not provided, Ross said, and the hospital would not disclose additional information.

The surgery involved removing almost all of Hindman’s esophagus and replacing it with part of his stomach.

The surgery lasted about as long as surgeons had predicted, Ross said. The laparoscopic surgery was performed at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center by James Luketich, a leading specialist in the technique that is less invasive than traditional surgery.

The more widely performed surgery involves opening the chest and abdomen; Hindman’s surgery was performed through nine or 10 incisions.

Hindman said last week he expected to spend an additional five to six weeks recovering before returning to his duties as mayor. Fourth Ward City Councilman Jim Loveless, who is serving as mayor pro tem, conducted his first City Council meeting in place of Hindman on Monday.

Hindman had been diagnosed in May with a precancerous cell irregularity called high-grade dysplasia, which doctors believe can be caused by a severe form of acid reflux disease called Barrett’s esophagus.

Doctors recommended Hindman, who suffers from Barrett’s, either remove the cells though a laser procedure or have surgery to remove most of his esophagus to eliminate his potential for developing the particularly deadly cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, the five-year survival rate for those diagnosed with esophageal cancer that responds to treatment ranges from about 5 percent to 30 percent.

Hindman said last week he expected the surgery would cure him of the precancerous condition.

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