Thoracic surgery refers to surgical procedures on chest organs, such as the lungs, heart, and esophagus. Some of the possible examples of thoracic surgery include lung transplant, heart transplant, and coronary artery bypass surgery.
If you want to know more about what is thoracic surgery and what are its benefits, this piece of information is just meant for you.
Table of Contents
Feel free to skip ahead if one topic catches your eye:
- What is thoracic surgery?
- What Conditions are Treated under Thoracic Surgery?
- How to Prepare yourself for Thoracic Surgery?
- Thoracic surgery procedures
- What to expect
- Risks Involved with Thoracic Surgery
1. What is thoracic surgery?
Thoracic surgery, also known as Cardiothoracic or chest surgery, is a form of surgery that involves organs of the chest but extends to the trachea (airway), the esophagus (tube between mouth and stomach), and the chest wall (rib cage and breastbone).
Examples of thoracic surgery include lung transplant, heart transplant, coronary artery bypass surgery, and removal of lung parts affected by cancer. This surgical procedure is used for diagnosing or repairing lungs affected by trauma, cancer, or pulmonary diseases.
The surgeon may perform Thoracic surgery procedures with either an open surgical procedure known as a thoracotomy or with minimally invasive techniques. A thoracotomy may be performed by the Thoraric surgeon when it is necessary to view large portions of the inner chest cavity or for removing a portion of the lung or the entire lung.
2. What Conditions are Treated under Thoracic Surgery?
What does a thoracic surgery doctor do? Thoracic surgery is recommended by surgeons for lung tissue resection to remove a carcinoma (pneumonectomy, lobectomy, and wedge resection), removal of bullae (lung volume reduction surgery), recurrent pleural problem management (pleurectomy and decortication), or to repair a chest wall deformity.
Surgeons can treat the undermentioned health conditions through thoracic surgery procedures:
- Esophageal cancer
- Lung cancer
- Benign lung tumours and diseases
- Benign esophageal diseases
- Sympathectomy for hyperhidrosis
- Stent insertion or Tracheal resection for airway narrowing
- Plication for diaphragmatic disorders
- Chest wall tumours
- Pleural diseases such as pleural effusions, infections, and pneumothorax
- Chest reconstruction after major surgery or trauma
- Lung volume reduction surgery for emphysema
A Thoracotomy for treating lung cancer may be performed by the surgeon through any of the following procedures:
- Anatomical segmental resection is prescribed for removing the blood vessels, the lymphatic drainage, the tumour, and the lung segment where the tumour is present.
- Wedge resection may be suggested for removing the tumour and the tissue surrounding cancer.
- Pneumonectomy may be prescribed for removing the inner lining of the chest cavity.
- Lobectomy may be prescribed for removing the complete lung lobe that has cancer, including the lymph nodes.
3. How to Prepare yourself for Thoracic Surgery?
- One of the first things that you should do before the Thoracic Surgery procedure is to stop smoking as it irritates the lungs and prolong your healing and recovery.
- If you are undergoing a rehabilitation or exercise program, you should continue with it until you arrive for the surgery.
- Breathing exercises and techniques are a critical part of your recovery process. Deep breathing will help you clear secretions post the surgery and help you relax effortlessly before and after surgery.
- You should seek immediate medical intervention if you are experiencing discoloured sputum (gold or green), a persistent cough, or a fever.
- It is recommended that you stop medications such as aspirin, Ticlid, and Plavix at least one week before the surgery.
- You should avoid all non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs) medications such as Ibuprofen, Naproxen, and Piroxicam at least two days before the surgery.
4. Thoracic surgery procedures
Some of the most common Thoracic surgery procedures include:
- Mediastinoscopy – this is a surgical procedure done to assess the mediastinum in the body for multiple reasons including tissue sampling for pathological tests or for the mediastinal lymph node biopsy of the patient.
- Segmentectomy – often done in the lung surgery, this procedure involves removal of a section of the lung that is either damaged or non-functional.
- Video-Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery (VATS) – this is a minimally invasive surgical procedure, wherein the patient is probed with thoracoscope to diagnose any anomalies in the patient’s chest or throat.
- Robot-Assisted Thoracic Surgery – this procedure involves a robotic surgery suite in which the surgeon manages all the hand and foot controls and uses a 3D HD viewer for magnified vision of the site of the thoracic surgery.
- Navigational Bronchoscopy – it is done for early diagnosis of any sort of abnormalities in the smaller airways in the lungs or even for taking biopsy of the lung tissues.
- Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS) – it is a minimally invasive procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves to create detailed images of the lining of the lungs for a better look at the condition of the organ.
- Endobronchial Ultrasound (EBUS) – the procedure makes use of a small instrument, which is inserted down the throat into the windpipe and lungs to diagnose any disorders, inflammation or even lung cancer.
The procedure of thoracic surgeries are subjective. It depends on the type of surgery the patient is undergoing and the medical technologies that the surgeon is using for the said surgery. While some procedures are for done initial diagnosis and thus include minimal invasion with the use of a bronchoscope and thoracoscope (as in Video-Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery and Endoscopic Ultrasound), some surgeries require making incisions to get better access to the organ being treated. \
5. What to expect?
After the Thoracic Surgery, you may experience numbness in the front of or below the incisions. Some patients may experience increased sensitivity and tingling around the incisions as they heal. After 2-4 weeks, you can expect dramatic relief with walking and stair climbing. You will also experience an improved quality of life and a sense of well-being. Whether you are at home or in the hospital, you can expect qualified assistance from providers of quality care like Dr. Sabyasachi Bal.
6. Risks Involved with Thoracic Surgery
In rare cases, patients may experience slight pain, wound infection, shortness in breathing, discomfort, or irritation. Some patients also experience mild fever or soreness. However, all these side effects usually subside on their own with painkiller medications, anti-inflammatory drugs, and antibiotics.
Today, there have been significant improvements in the techniques and procedures involving Thoracic surgery. The lives of patients are positively impacted with innovations in robot-assisted and minimally invasive procedures in the segments of transplant surgery, general thoracic surgery, cardiac surgery, or even a combination of different procedures.
At Sabyasachi Bal, You will get the best treatment from highly experienced doctors/surgeons with almost no risk.