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Thoracic Surgery Program

Dignity Health's Thoracic Surgery Program focuses on providing the best possible outcomes with multi-specialty care for patients with lung nodules or lesions, and complex cases of lung cancer or esophageal cancer. In addition, our thoracic surgeons provide advanced surgical treatment for GERD, hernia repair, diaphragmatic paralysis and excessive sweating.


Dignity Health offers the most advanced technologies and minimally-invasive techniques for lung and lymph node biopsy.

  • superDimension bronchoscopy: This GPS-like navigation system allows the surgeon to steer a small catheter through the mouth or nose, down the trachea and far into the lung to locate and biopsy suspicious lesions without open surgery
  • EBUS: Endobronchial ultrasound-guided biopsy enables the surgeon to use a bronchoscope inserted through the mouth to biopsy lesions and lymph nodes surrounding the airway. Improved images allow the physician to easily view difficult-to-reach areas and to access more and smaller lymph nodes
  • Mediastinoscopy: In this minimally invasive diagnostic technique, a thin scope is inserted through a small incision in the neck to biopsy lymph nodes or lesions in the mediastinum (space between the lungs)
  • Video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS): This new procedure allows the doctor to insert a small camera and surgical tools through 1-2 cm openings in the chest to complete a wedge biopsy for the diagnosis of lung cancer


Advanced surgical techniques enable Dignity Health's team of experts to treat cancer and other diseases of the lung and esophagus.

Lung Cancer

  • Thoracotomy (lobectomy, bilobectomy, pneumonectomy): In this surgery, the doctor makes a large cut on one side of the chest (thorax) and spreads the ribs apart. All or part of the lung is removed depending on the location, size and type of lung cancer that is present
  • Video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS): This new procedure allows the doctor to insert a small camera and surgical tools through 1-2 cm openings in the chest to easily biopsy the lung. A smaller incision means less postoperative pain, fewer days in the hospital and quicker healing

Esophageal Cancer

  • Esophagectomy: This surgical procedure is used to remove all or a portion of the esophagus and then reconstruct it using stomach
  • Nissen Fundoplication: and Hiatal Hernia Repair: These surgical treatments for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), commonly called chronic heartburn, may be used when GERD does not respond to medication therapy or lifestyle modification
  • Diaphragmatic Plication: Surgical treatment for "paralyzed" diaphragm due to phrenic nerve damage

  • Bilateral Sympathectomy: Surgical treatment for idiopathic hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating. The surgeon uses a minimally invasive video-assisted thorascopic approach.

For help finding a Dignity Health-affiliated doctor, use our online physician directory, or call our physician referral hotline at (888) 800-7688.