Having Thoracic Surgery

Thoracic surgery is the field of medicine involved in the surgical treatment of diseases affecting organs inside the chest (the thorax).

What is a Thoracic Surgeon?

A Thoracic Surgeon is practicing the field of medicine involved in the surgical treatment of diseases affecting organs inside the chest (the thorax). Thoracic surgeons perform surgery for conditions affecting the lungs, chest wall and diaphragm. Thoracic Surgeons do not perform surgery for conditions of the heart and the major vessels in the chest. These operations are performed by Cardiac Surgeons.

Thoracic and Cardiac Surgeons have a common training, which is called training in Cardiothoracic surgery. By the end of their training they decide whether they wish to become Thoracic or Cardiac Surgeons.

Lung cancer surgery

Lung cancer surgery describes the use of surgical operations in the treatment of lung cancer. It involves the surgical removal of cancer tissue from the lung. It is used mainly in non-small cell lung cancer.

Types of surgery

  • Segmentectomy: Removal of an anatomic division of a particular lobe of the lung
  • Lobectomy: Removal of a lobe of the lung
  • Pneumonectomy: Removal of an entire lung
  • Wedge resection: Removal of a small wedge-shaped piece of lung that contains the lung cancer and a margin of health tissue around the cancer
  • Sleeve/bronchoplastic resection: Removal of an associated tubular section of the associated main bronchial passage during lobectomy with subsequent reconstruction of the bronchial passage
  • VATS lobectomy: Minimally invasive approach to lobectomy that may allow for diminished pain, quicker return to full activity, and diminished hospital costs

There is information and support available on lung cancer here:

British Lung Foundation
McMillan Cancer Support
Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation
Cancer Research UK


Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that grows in the lining (pleura) around the lungs. The main cause is exposure to asbestos dust.

There is information and support available on mesothelioma here:

British Lung Foundation


A pneumothorax is a collection of air in the pleural cavity between the lung and the chest wall, causing collapse of the lung.

There is information available on pneumothorax here:

Oxford University Hospitals

Lung volume reduction surgery

Lung volume reduction surgery can improve the quality of life for certain patients suffering from emphysema. Parts of the lung that are particularly damaged by emphysema are removed, allowing the remaining, relatively good lung to expand and work better.

There is information on emphysema and lung volume reduction surgery here:

British Lung Foundation