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Cardiothoracic surgery

Dignity Health Medical Group cardiothoracic surgeons are highly trained medical professionals who perform intricate surgeries to address issues such as coronary artery disease, heart valve disorders, congenital heart defects, lung cancer, and other thoracic conditions. 

Working side-by-side with Dignity Health Medical Group providers, our cardiothoracic surgeons have the expertise, skill, and technology available to perform the following procedures:

  • Aortic Aneurysm Repair

  • Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG)

  • Cox-Maze Procedure

  • Esophageal Surgery

  • Heart Transplantation

  • Heart Valve Repair or Replacement

  • Lung Resection

  • Lung Transplantation

  • Myomectomy Procedure

  • Minimally Invasive and Robotic-Assisted Surgeries

  • Pacemaker or Defibrillator Implantation

  • Tracheal Surgery

  • Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) also known as Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI)

  • Thymectomy

  • Ventricular Assist Device (VAD) Implantation

Remember that the choice of a cardiothoracic surgeon is a personal one, and there's no one-size-fits-all answer. Whether it be a Dignity Health Medical Group cardiothoracic surgeon or someone else, we are here to answer any question you have about your procedure or anything else.

Find a cardiothoracic surgeon near me

You can find Dignity Health Medical Group cardiothoracic surgeons throughout California. Schedule an appointment today.

How do I choose the right cardiothoracic surgeon?

Choosing the right cardiothoracic surgeon is a crucial decision that can significantly impact your health and well-being. Here are some steps to guide you in finding the best surgeon for your needs:

  • Research your potential surgeon, looking into credentials, education, and training.

  • Consider the surgeon's experience in performing the specific procedure you need.

  • Read patient reviews and testimonials to gain insights into the surgeon's bedside manner, communication skills, and patient satisfaction, to better understand the overall patient experience.

  • During the consultation, ask questions about the surgeon's experience, success rates, potential risks, and the recovery process.

  • Seek referrals from your primary care physician, cardiologist, or other healthcare professionals. They can provide valuable recommendations based on their knowledge and network.

Verify that the surgeon is within your insurance network to ensure that your procedure is covered. Unsure whether your health insurance is accepted at Dignity Health offices? Find a full list of accepted insurances here.

Cardiacthoracic locations in California

Frequently asked cardiothoracic questions

Recovery time varies depending on the type of surgery and individual factors. Generally, patients can expect to spend a few days to a few weeks in the hospital. Full recovery can take several weeks to a few months, with gradual improvements in strength and well-being.

Whether you've undergone heart, lung, or other chest-related procedures, here's a comprehensive guide to help you navigate your cardiothoracic surgery recovery journey:

  1. Follow medical instructions by adhering to all post-operative instructions provided by your surgeon and medical team.

  2. Keep track of your vital signs, incision sites, and any unusual symptoms and report any concerning changes to your medical team promptly.

  3. Sleep with your upper body elevated using pillows to reduce strain on your incision sites.

  4. Follow your doctor’s guidelines and gradually engage in light walking to improve circulation and prevent blood clots.

  5. Consume a well-balanced diet rich in nutrients, protein, and fiber to support healing. Stay hydrated and avoid excessive sodium and processed foods.

  6. Keep your incision sites clean and dry to prevent infection.

  7. Take pain medications as prescribed to manage discomfort.

  8. Practice deep breathing exercises to prevent lung complications and improve lung function.

  9. Attend all scheduled follow-up appointments with your surgeon and healthcare team to discuss any concerns or questions you may have about your recovery progress.

Minimally invasive techniques in cardiothoracic surgery have revolutionized the field by offering patients the benefits of reduced trauma, faster recovery, and smaller incisions compared to traditional open surgeries. These techniques employ advanced technologies to perform intricate procedures through tiny incisions, often with the assistance of specialized instruments and cameras.

Some common minimally invasive approaches:

  • Video-Assisted Thoracic Surgery (VATS)

  • Robot-Assisted Surgery

  • Transcatheter Techniques

  • Endoscopic Procedures

  • Minimally Invasive Coronary Artery Bypass (MICS CABG)

  • Thoracic Endovascular Aneurysm Repair (TEVAR)

While minimally invasive techniques offer numerous advantages, not all patients or conditions are suitable for these approaches. The choice of technique depends on factors such as the patient's medical history, the complexity of the procedure, and the surgeon's expertise. Patients considering these techniques should consult with their health care provider to determine the most appropriate approach for their specific situation.

Like any surgery, cardiothoracic procedures carry risks, which may include: 

  • Infection

  • Bleeding

  • Blood clots

  • Organ damage

  • Complications related to anesthesia

Your surgeon will discuss potential risks and benefits before the procedure.

Preparing for cardiothoracic surgery involves several important steps to ensure a smooth and successful procedure and recovery:

  • Inform your healthcare provider about all your medications, supplements, and vitamins. They will guide you on which medications to continue, adjust, or temporarily stop before surgery.

  • If you smoke, consider quitting before surgery. Smoking can interfere with healing and increase the risk of complications.

  • Maintain a healthy diet and exercise routine to optimize your overall health and strengthen your body for surgery. Follow any dietary restrictions provided by your medical team.

  • Follow proper hygiene practices to reduce the risk of infection. Shower with an antibacterial soap the night before or the morning of surgery.

  • Follow any preoperative instructions given by your surgeon, such as fasting before surgery or avoiding certain activities.

  • Arrange for a friend or family member to accompany you to the hospital on the day of surgery.

  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing on the day of surgery. You may be asked to change into a hospital gown before the procedure.

  • Review with your medical team the medications you need to take on the day of surgery, especially those prescribed for chronic conditions.

  • Discuss the procedure with your surgeon to understand what to expect during and after surgery. Address any concerns or questions you may have.

Your medical team will provide guidelines for gradually resuming activities. Following their recommendations is important to ensure a safe and successful recovery. 

The timeline for resuming normal activities after cardiothoracic surgery varies based on the type of procedure, your overall health, and your surgeon's recommendations. Here's a general guideline:

  • You may start walking and engaging in light activities within a few days to a week after surgery. Begin with short walks and gradually increase the duration as you feel comfortable.

  • Driving is usually restricted for a few weeks after surgery, especially if your sternum (breastbone) was cut. Your surgeon will provide specific guidance based on your progress.

  • The time off work will depend on the type of surgery, your job responsibilities, and your overall health. Sedentary desk jobs may allow for a return within a few weeks, while physically demanding jobs may require a longer recovery period.

  • Avoid strenuous activities, heavy lifting, and intense exercise for several weeks to a few months, as advised by your medical team. Gradually reintroduce physical activities under their supervision.

Find a cardiothoracic surgeon

You don’t have to look far for a team of cardiothoracic specialists who will always keep your health close to their hearts. Dignity Health Medical Group cardiothoracic surgeons are here to lend a helping hand.