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UR President Set to Have Surgery

The President of the University of Rochester Joel Seligman is having surgery on May 23 to remove a small nodule from the periphery of his lung at Strong Memorial Hospital.

Seligman made the announcement on Tuesday to U of R faculty, staff and students.

“This surgical procedure is very safe,” Seligman says. “The … doctors I have consulted anticipate that I likely will be away from work for a few weeks and then will make a full recovery.”

The surgery will be performed by Dr. Thomas Watson, which involves a video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery, or VATS, procedure.

Seligman says doctors were aware of the nodule when they began monitoring his non-Hodgkins Lymphoma since 2007.

“This was not felt to be part of the non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, which was successfully treated seven years ago,” Seligman says. “Until a recent CT/PET scan they did not consider this a matter that necessitated a medical or surgical procedure. It was small and not apparently growing.”

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Scans taken in 2012 and 2014 showed that the nodule grew to its current size, which is about one half of an inch, Seligman says. The best practice is to remove the nodule at this time.

“The one real risk with this type of nodule is that it might be malignant and if it is not removed it could grow and potentially metastasize,” Seligman says. “Even if the nodule is malignant, given its very small size, slow growth rate and its peripheral location, the likelihood of recurrence or distant spread is quite small.”

Seligman says doctors said the surgery is “safe and likely will take one to three hours.”  He also notes this is “significant but manageable procedure, far less concerning than the 2007 non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.”

Provost Peter Lennie will be in charge of during Seligman’s absence.