Meet Dr. Michael Jessen
Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgeon

Holder of the:
Frank M. Ryburn, Jr., Distinguished Chair in Cardiothoracic Surgery and Transplantation

Michael Jessen, M.D., Chair of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery at UT Southwestern Medical Center, believes excellent teamwork really counts.

“The clear emphasis at UT Southwestern is on making quality the top priority: making patient safety, the patient experience, and patient outcomes the best they can be, and that’s something really special.”

Whether a team is collaborating to figure out the best possible treatment for someone who is very ill, or working side-by-side in surgery to give someone a new heart, or “shaking the trees” all over campus to recruit Heart Walk participants, Dr. Jessen likes to be on teams with great skills, knowledge, enthusiasm, and commitment. And as a leader, he likes to build them.

A native of Canada, Dr. Jessen followed an early interest in surgery, and during his training found himself working with and learning from many of the pioneers of heart surgery. He arrived at UT Southwestern in 1990, just two years after W. Steves Ring, M.D., performed the Medical Center’s first heart transplant. On Thanksgiving Day, 2010, the 400th heart transplant was performed. Dr. Jessen was named to succeed Dr. Ring as department chair the same year.

“Naturally, we’re proud that our team has performed over 400 heart transplants,” Dr. Jessen says, ”but what really makes us happy is that our program consistently ranks among the top 10 in the United States. Our one- and three-year survival rates – key measures in program success – exceed the national average.”

Dr. Jessen believes that multidisciplinary collaboration is very important for cardiothoracic surgery patients. Not only do they benefit from the combined experience of each team member, they also have access to the most effective new treatments and can even participate in important clinical trials. Involvement in the evaluation of new drugs and devices also keeps UT Southwestern’s cardiothoracic surgery program at the forefront of the field.

“This institution has a real commitment to patient care and is devoting its resources to making the whole patient experience the best it can be,” says Dr. Jessen. “And, we are building a brand new hospital so that patients have both top medical expertise and a state-of-the-art medical facility for treatment when they most need it.”


Clinical Interests

Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery

  • Adult congenital heart disease
  • Aortic valve disease
  • Arrhythmia surgery
  • Heart bypass surgery
  • Heart transplant
  • Pacemaker insertion
  • Thoracic aortic surgery