Surgery of the chest, or thoracic surgery, typically refers to operations on the lungs, pleura (the thin layer of tissue lining the chest cavity), and upper esophagus. Surgery may be performed for diagnostic purposes to identify the nature of changes seen on imaging studies such as CAT scans. Operations to remove inflamed tissue of drain fluid are sometimes necessary to effectively treat some infections or cancers in the chest.
Most chest surgery is performed to treat cancers of the lung. The surgery may involve removal of a wedge of lung tissue, a lobe ( one of the larger segments of the lungs), or less frequently, an entire right or left lung. Cancer operations often involve sampling of lymph nodes from the central portion of the chest, either before the cancer is removed in a more minor procedure called mediastinoscopy, or during the lung surgery itself.
Many thoracic procedures can be successfully performed using a minimally invasive technique called thoracoscopy. Rather than using a single, sizable incision between the ribs as in traditional chest surgery, thoracoscopy uses several much smaller incisions through which a scope and surgical instruments are introduced. This typically results in limited postoperative discomfort and a more rapid return to normal activities. This option is not appropriate in all situations, but may be one of the options discussed with your surgeon during your preoperative consultation.
To schedule a consultation to discuss your particular situation, please call 419-422-3812.