A thoracic surgeon specializes in the surgical care of people of all ages with conditions and diseases of the chest. The chest includes the heart, lungs, trachea (windpipe), esophagus, diaphragm, and chest wall. Thoracic surgeons treat a variety of diseases and conditions that require chest surgery, including heart disease, lung and esophagus cancer, chest trauma, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Thoracic surgeons are also called cardiothoracic surgeons and cardiac surgeons to emphasize heart surgery.
A thoracic surgeon typically:
Evaluates a patient’s medical history and educates the patient about his or her condition including the surgical treatment and aftercare
Performs a physical exam including evaluation of blood pressure and vital signs; weight; and the health of the heart, lungs, and blood vessels
Orders and interprets laboratory and imaging tests and prescribes medications
Orders and evaluates diagnostic procedures, such as EKG, echocardiogram, and cardiac catheterization
Diagnoses and treats acute and chronic diseases and conditions that affect the major structures and organs in the chest
Works closely with your primary care doctor, cardiologist, pulmonologist, and other specialists to provide optimal care
A thoracic surgeon may also be known by the following names: chest surgeon, lung surgeon, heart and lung surgeon, general thoracic surgeon, trauma surgeon, and cardiothoracic surgeon.
There are 6779 specialists practicing Cardiothoracic Surgery in the United States with an overall average rating of 4.4 stars. There are 2094 hospitals in the United States with affiliated Cardiothoracic Surgery specialists, including Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and Cleveland Clinic.