Thoracic surgery is surgery performed on the esophagus, lungs, heart and other organs and tissues within the chest cavity. Conditions treated include esophageal cancer, lung cancer, hiatal hernia, emphysema, coronary artery disease and heart failure.
Surgery is performed by open or minimally invasive methods. Open thoracic surgery involves making a long incision to open the chest wall and sometimes having to cut through your sternum (breastbone) and separate your ribs to gain access to the surgical site. Minimally invasive surgery is performed by making small incisions in your chest and inserting a tube mounted with a camera (thorascope) through which surgical instruments can be inserted and guided by images received from the camera. Modern robotic systems are also available to perform high-precision minimally invasive surgery.