Thoracic surgery : Specialists

What does thoracic mean?

This medical term refers to the thorax or in layman’s jargon the chest. The chest cavity contains the heart, lungs, oesophagus, chest wall and diaphragm. The organs inside the chest are protected by the rib cage.

What is thoracic surgery?

This is surgery to treat diseases and injuries of the chest. It is often combined with heart surgery (cardiac) and is termed ‘cardiothoracic’ surgery.

What is a thoracic surgeon?

A surgeon who carries out procedures on a range of chest problems which includes:

  • Tumours/cancerous growths, e.g. lung cancer
  • Tuberculosis
  • Lung abscess (empyema)
  • Deformity of the chest wall
  • Pneumothorax (collapsed lung)

What does a thoracic surgeon do?

He/she will perform the following surgical procedures:

  • Surgical repair of the chest wall
  • Lobectomy (removal of a section of the lung)
  • Pneuonectomy (complete removal of the lung)
  • Heart bypass (cardiothoracic)
  • Removal of soft tissue sarcomas

Video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) is a type of keyhole surgery in that it enables the surgeon to see inside the chest cavity using an endoscope (or a ‘thorascope’). This is an ideal procedure for taking a biopsy from a lung or removing a growth.

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