Thoracic specialties in medicine include the investigation and treatment of conditions and organs found in the body’s chest and upper abdomen including the lungs, mediastinum (the central compartment of the thoracic cavity), chest wall, esophagus, diaphragm and the great vessels to the heart.
Conditions affecting these areas can vary greatly in their severity and treatment options. You should see your physician about symptoms affecting your daily routine including chest discomfort or pain, trouble coughing, breathing or eating, or a cough that won’t go away, or if you find you are coughing up blood or another substance. You physician will perform a thorough examination and potentially run some tests that are used to identify and diagnose thoracic conditions. These tests may include:
- Blood tests
- Cardiac catheterization
- Imaging and scans
Once tests have been completed and a diagnosis is made, you and your physician should discuss treatment options and the risks and benefits associated with each. In some instances, relief for some thoracic conditions can be sought through lifestyle changes or prescription medication. In other instances, a more aggressive form of treatment, including surgery, may be recommended.
Thoracic specialists use surgical methods to treat a variety of conditions including:
- Esophageal cancer
- Hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating in the hands, underarms, or feet)
- Lung cancer
- Diaphragmatic pacing (implantation of a small device that stimulates the diaphragm to move and expand the lungs, enabling some paralyzed individuals to breathe without a respirator)
- Diaphragmatic plication for diaphragmatic paralysis (stabilization of the diaphragm to restore normal lung function)
- Lung transplantation
In some instances, thoracic surgery will be performed through open surgery – one large incision made to access the surgical site, generally made along the chest and may involve spreading your ribs to reach your lungs and chest cavity effectively. In other instances, your physician may recommend minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery. This is done through several smaller incisions and your physician being aided by our robotics technology, the da Vinci Surgical System.
Robotic Thoracic Surgery
Thoracic surgery utilizing the da Vinci Surgical System is minimally invasive and uses the latest technology to aid your surgeon in your procedure. Featuring 3D, high-definition imaging and specialized instruments that bend and rotate far greater than the human hand, the da Vinci technology enhances your surgeon’s precision, dexterity and control while increasing their visibility into your surgical site. Robot-assisted surgeries are changing how are surgeons are performing biopsies and lobectomies, offering exactness and access in a way we’ve never seen.
Some of the befits of robotic thoracic surgery include:
- Faster recovery time
- Lower risk of infection
- Less inflammation
- Less pain
- Less scarring
- Reduced blood loss
- Reduced number of days with a chest tube in place
- Shorter hospital stay