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Thoracic Surgery



Thoracic surgery is a surgical subspecialty that treats diseases affecting organs inside the chest (the thorax), to include conditions of the lungs, chest wall and diaphragm. A thoracic surgeon would treat:

  • Lung cancer
  • Severe emphysema
  • Cancer of the esophagus
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Hiatal hernias
  • Swallowing disorders such as achalasia
  • Excess sweating, usually of the upper extremity called hyperhidrosis

Many thoracic procedures are minimally invasive, including video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) and superDimension®. They offer surgeons a degree of precision, control and dexterity traditional surgeries simply can’t match. Some of the benefits to patients include:

  • Smaller incisions, meaning scarring is drastically reduced
  • Shorter recovery times, measured in days instead of weeks
  • Reduced pain and potential for complications

Lung and Esophageal Cancer Surgery

Lung cancer often takes several years to develop and is rare in people under the age of 45. Most lung cancer starts in the lining of the bronchi, but it can also start in other parts of the lung. There may first be areas of pre-cancerous changes that can’t be seen on an X-ray and don’t cause symptoms but can go on to become true cancer. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for both men and women. More people die of lung cancer than of colon, breast and prostate cancers combined.

According to the American Cancer Society, there were more than 16,600 new cases of esophageal cancer in the United States in 2010. It is estimated that about one in 200 Americans will be diagnosed with esophageal cancer in their lifetime. The good news is that if caught early enough, cancer of the esophagus is treatable.


Mercy Medical Group thoracic surgeons see patients at the following Greater Sacramento locations:

  • Mercy Cancer Center, Sacramento
  • Midtown Sacramento
  • San Juan (Carmichael)

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