Thoracic Surgery

Thoracic surgery uses surgical techniques to diagnose and treat the heart, lungs, esophagus, and other organs in the chest. Thoracic surgeons treat congenital and acquired conditions as well as injuries to the chest.

Learn more about thoracic surgery at the Mount Sinai Health System

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Diseases & Conditions
Aortic dissection
Aortic dissection is a serious condition in which there is a tear in the wall of the major artery carrying blood out of the heart (aorta). As the tear extends along the wall of the aorta, blood can flow...

Aortic valve surgery - minimally invasive
Blood flows out of your heart and into a large blood vessel called the aorta. The aortic valve separates the heart and aorta. The aortic valve opens so blood can flow out. It then closes to keep blood from...

Aortic valve surgery - open
Blood flows out of your heart and into a large blood vessel called the aorta. The aortic valve separates the heart and aorta. The aortic valve opens so blood can flow out. It then closes to keep blood from...

Diseases & Conditions
Atrial septal defect (ASD)
Atrial septal defect (ASD) is a heart defect that is present at birth (congenital). As a baby develops in the womb, a wall (septum) forms that divides the upper chamber into a left and right atrium. When...


Diseases & Conditions
Cardiac tamponade
Cardiac tamponade is pressure on the heart that occurs when blood or fluid builds up in the space between the heart muscle and the outer covering sac (pericardium) of the heart.

Chest tube insertion
A chest tube is a hollow, flexible tube placed into the chest. It acts as a drain. Chest tubes drain blood, fluid, or air from around your lungs, heart, or esophagus. The tube around your lung is placed...

Diseases & Conditions
Coarctation of the aorta
The aorta is a larger artery that carries blood from the heart to the vessels that supply the rest of the body with blood. If part of the aorta is narrowed, it is hard for blood to pass through the artery...

Congenital heart defect - corrective surgery
Congenital heart defect corrective surgery fixes or treats a heart defect that a child is born with. A baby born with one or more heart defects has congenital heart disease. Surgery is needed if the defect...


Self-Care Instructions
Diet and eating after esophagectomy
Esophagectomy - diet; Post-esophagectomy diet

Special Topics
Dissect means to cut or separate tissues. Doctors dissect tissue during surgery. Most of the time, this is done to remove a part of the body that is thought to be diseased. Pathologists dissect dead bodies...


Endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy
Endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy (ETS) is surgery to treat sweating that is much heavier than normal. This condition is called hyperhidrosis. Usually the surgery is used to treat sweating of the palms...

Diseases & Conditions
Esophageal atresia
Esophageal atresia is a birth defect in which the esophagus does not develop properly. The esophagus is the tube that normally carries food from the mouth to the stomach.

Discharge Instructions
Esophagectomy - discharge
Trans-hiatal esophagectomy - discharge; Trans-thoracic esophagectomy - discharge; Minimally invasive esophagectomy - discharge; En bloc esophagectomy - discharge; Removal of the esophagus - discharge

Esophagectomy - minimally invasive
Minimally invasive esophagectomy is surgery to remove part or all of the esophagus. This is the tube that moves food from your throat to your stomach. After it is removed, the esophagus is rebuilt from...

Esophagectomy - open
Open esophagectomy is surgery to remove part or all of the esophagus. This is the tube that moves food from your throat to your stomach. After it is removed, the esophagus is rebuilt from part of your stomach...


General anesthesia
General anesthesia is treatment with certain medicines that puts you into a deep sleep so you do not feel pain during surgery. After you receive these medicines, you will not be aware of what is happening...


Heart bypass surgery
Heart bypass surgery creates a new route, called a bypass, for blood and oxygen to go around a blockage to reach your heart.

Heart bypass surgery - minimally invasive
Heart bypass surgery creates a new route, called a bypass, for blood and oxygen to reach your heart. Minimally invasive coronary (heart) artery bypass can be done without stopping the heart. Therefore,...

Heart pacemaker
A pacemaker is a small, battery-operated device. This device senses when your heart is beating too slowly. It sends a signal to your heart that makes your heart beat at the correct pace. too slowly

Heart transplant
A heart transplant is surgery to remove a damaged or diseased heart and replace it with a healthy donor heart.

Heart valve surgery
Heart valve surgery is used to repair or replace diseased heart valves. Blood that flows between different chambers of your heart must flow through a heart valve. Blood that flows out of your heart into...

Diseases & Conditions
Hemothorax is a collection of blood in the space between the chest wall and the lung (the pleural cavity).

Diseases & Conditions
Hypoplastic left heart syndrome
Hypoplastic left heart syndrome occurs when parts of the left side of the heart (mitral valve, left ventricle, aortic valve, and aorta) do not develop completely. The condition is present at birth (congenital...


Discharge Instructions
Implantable cardioverter defibrillator - discharge
ICD - discharge; Defibrillation - discharge; Arrhythmia - ICD discharge; Abnormal heart rhythm - ICD discharge; Ventricular fibrillation - ICD discharge; VF - ICD discharge; V Fib - ICD discharge


Diseases & Conditions
Lung cancer
Lung cancer is cancer that starts in the lungs. The lungs are located in the chest. When you breathe, air goes through your nose, down your windpipe (trachea), and into the lungs, where it flows through...

Lung surgery
Lung surgery is surgery done to repair or remove lung tissue. There are many common lung surgeries, including: Biopsy of an unknown growth in or around the lungLobectomy, to remove one or more lobes of...

Discharge Instructions
Lung surgery - discharge
Thoracotomy - discharge; Lung tissue removal - discharge; Pneumonectomy - discharge; Lobectomy - discharge; Lung biopsy - discharge; Thoracoscopy - discharge; Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery - discharge...

Lung transplant
Lung transplant is surgery to replace one or both diseased lungs with healthy lungs from a human donor.


Diseases & Conditions
Malignant mesothelioma
Malignant mesothelioma is an uncommon cancerous tumor. It mainly affects the lining of the lung and chest cavity (pleura) or lining of the abdomen (peritoneum). It is due to long-term asbestos exposure...

Meckel diverticulectomy
Meckel diverticulectomy is surgery to remove an abnormal pouch of the lining of the small intestine (bowel). This pouch is called a Meckel diverticulum. Meckel diverticulum

Diseases & Conditions
Mediastinal tumor
Mediastinal tumors are growths that form in the mediastinum. This is an area in the middle of the chest that separates the lungs.

Diseases & Conditions
Mediastinitis is swelling and irritation (inflammation) of the chest area between the lungs (mediastinum). This area contains the heart, large blood vessels, windpipe (trachea), food tube (esophagus), thymus...

Mediastinoscopy with biopsy
Mediastinoscopy with biopsy is a procedure in which a lighted instrument (mediastinoscope) is inserted in the space in the chest between the lungs (mediastinum). Tissue is taken (biopsy) from any unusual...

Diseases & Conditions
Metastatic pleural tumor
Metastatic pleural tumor is a type of cancer that has spread from another organ to the thin membrane (pleura) surrounding the lungs. cancer

Mitral valve surgery - minimally invasive
Mitral valve surgery is surgery to either repair or replace the mitral valve in your heart. Blood flows from the lungs and enters a pumping chamber of the heart called the left atrium. The blood then flows...


Open heart surgery
Heart surgery is any surgery done on the heart muscle, valves, arteries, or the aorta and other large arteries connected to the heart. The term "open heart surgery" means that you are connected to a heart...

Open lung biopsy
An open lung biopsy is surgery to remove a small piece of tissue from the lung. The sample is then examined for cancer, infection, or lung disease. cancer lung disease

Open pleural biopsy
An open pleural biopsy is a procedure to remove and examine the tissue that lines the inside of the chest. This tissue is called the pleura.


Diseases & Conditions
Patent ductus arteriosus
Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) is a condition in which the ductus arteriosus does not close. The word "patent" means open. The ductus arteriosus is a blood vessel that allows blood to go around the baby...

Pectus carinatum
Pectus carinatum is present when the chest protrudes over the sternum. It is often described as giving the person a bird-like appearance.

Pectus excavatum
Pectus excavatum is a medical term that describes an abnormal formation of the rib cage that gives the chest a caved-in or sunken appearance.

Discharge Instructions
Pectus excavatum - discharge

Pectus excavatum repair
Pectus excavatum repair is surgery to correct pectus excavatum. This is a congenital (present at birth) deformity of the front of the chest wall that causes a sunken breastbone (sternum) and ribs. pectus...

Pediatric heart surgery
Heart surgery in children is done to repair heart defects a child is born with (congenital heart defects) and heart diseases a child gets after birth that need surgery. The surgery is needed for the child...

Pleural fluid culture
Pleural fluid culture is a test that examines a sample of fluid that has collected in the pleural space to see if you have an infection or understand the cause of buildup of fluid in this space. The pleural...

Diseases & Conditions
Pleurisy is an inflammation of the lining of the lungs and chest (the pleura) that leads to chest pain when you take a breath or cough.

Diseases & Conditions
Pulmonary actinomycosis
Pulmonary actinomycosis is a rare lung infection caused by bacteria.

Diseases & Conditions
Pulmonary aspergilloma
Pulmonary aspergilloma is a mass caused by a fungal infection. It usually grows in lung cavities. The infection can also appear in the brain, kidney, or other organs.

Diseases & Conditions
Pulmonary veno-occlusive disease
Pulmonary veno-occlusive disease (PVOD) is a very rare disease. It leads to high blood pressure in the lung arteries (pulmonary hypertension). pulmonary hypertension


Diseases & Conditions
Solitary pulmonary nodule
A solitary pulmonary nodule is a round or oval spot (lesion) in the lung that is seen with a chest x-ray or CT scan. chest x-ray CT scan

Sputum direct fluorescent antibody (DFA) test
Sputum direct fluorescent antibody (DFA) is a lab test that looks for micro-organisms in lung secretions.

Sternal exploration or closure
When you have open heart surgery, the surgeon may make a cut (incision) that runs down the middle of your chest bone (sternum). The incision usually heals on its own. But sometimes, there are complications...


Diseases & Conditions
Tetralogy of Fallot
Tetralogy of Fallot is a type of congenital heart defect. Congenital means that it is present at birth.

Diseases & Conditions
Thoracic aortic aneurysm
An aneurysm is an abnormal widening or ballooning of a portion of an artery due to weakness in the wall of the blood vessel. A thoracic aortic aneurysm occurs in the part of the body's largest artery (the...

Diseases & Conditions
Thoracic outlet syndrome
Thoracic outlet syndrome is a rare condition that involves: Pain in the neck and shoulderNumbness and tingling of the fingersA weak grip Swelling of the affected limbColdness of the affected limb Pain in...

Diseases & Conditions
Transposition of the great arteries
Transposition of the great arteries (TGA) is a heart defect that occurs from birth (congenital). The two major arteries that carry blood away from the heart -- the aorta and the pulmonary artery -- are...

Diseases & Conditions
Tricuspid regurgitation
Blood that flows between different chambers of your heart must pass through a heart valve. These valves open up enough so that blood can flow through. They then close, keeping blood from flowing backward...


Ventricular assist device
Ventricular assist devices (VADs) help your heart pump blood from one of the main pumping chambers to the rest of your body or to the other side of the heart. These pumps are implanted in your body. In...

Diseases & Conditions
Ventricular septal defect
Ventricular septal defect is a hole in the wall that separates the right and left ventricles of the heart. Ventricular septal defect is one of the most common congenital (present from birth) heart defects...