What is Thoracic Surgery

What is Thoracic Surgery
Published on: 27 November 2018

Conditions in Which Thoracic Surgery Required

Thoracic surgery is often the main course of action in conditions such as tumors and benign growths in the lungs, lung infections and effusions, lung cancer, strictures and tumors in the esophagus, esophageal cancer, achalasia and other swallowing issues, mesothelioma, gastroesophageal reflux, hyperhidrosis, tumors in the chest wall and other similar conditions. Thoracic surgeons are also qualified to perform advanced surgical procedures such as lung transplants for patients suffering from end-stage lung cancer.

Role of Thoracic Surgeons

Thoracic surgery is closely associated with fields of cardiology and pulmonology and includes several similar surgical practices and intervention on the structures, organs, and tissues of the chest. A cardiothoracic surgeon, for example, specializes in the removing blockages in the heart and arteries. However, many thoracic surgeries require consultation from a cardiologist or pulmonologist before any medication or treatment can be prescribed.

Cardiologists examine and diagnose conditions and diseases of the heart and then prescribe the appropriate medication to the patient. A pulmonologist also functions in a similar manner, prescribing medication, treatment or sometimes performing minimally invasive procedures. However, if the patient’s condition is severe and the prescribed medication is ineffective, a thoracic surgeon will be recommended by the cardiologist or consultant pulmonologist.

Modern Day Thoracic Surgery

Location of the affected organ or tissue determines the technique and approach used in thoracic surgery. Modern technology has enabled surgeons to conduct much safer minimally invasive surgeries which minimize point of incision, gives higher accuracy, causes less pain, results in minimal scarring and involves shorter hospital time. However, some surgeries such coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) are often done through open heart method in which the thoracic surgeon and the surgical team temporarily stops the heart, drains it of blood and performs the procedure on the affected area. With recent technological advances, robot-assisted surgery has been introduced in which specialized machines assist thoracic surgeons to achieve higher accuracy and surgical precision. This allows the surgeon to operate on the site without opening the ribcage or damaging surrounding tissues.

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