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Thoracic Surgery

If you’re living with a serious condition affecting your thoracic region (including the lungs, esophagus and mediastinum, the area between the lungs, trachea and diaphragm) our team of thoracic surgeons provides expert diagnosis and innovative treatments designed to ensure your experience is a comfortable as possible. 

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Minimally invasive robotic surgery

At Tufts Medicine, our expert surgeons specialize in treating lung, esophageal, and other chest cancers through cutting-edge robotic technology that uses small incisions so that you can get back to living your best life as quickly as possible. Robotic surgery improves precision by using small instruments that mimic the hand. Smaller, minimally invasive incisions may lead to shorter hospital stays, decreased pain after surgery, and quicker recovery. 

Leaders in robotics

Our surgeons are nationally renowned leaders in robotic surgery. As members of a teaching hospital, they also train other doctors in this advanced technique. To learn more about robotic surgery and innovation at Tufts Medicine, visit the CardioVascular Center for Research + Innovation

Gennaro Carpinito, MD uses the daVinci robot during an urology surgery in the operating room at Tufts Medical Center.
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Conditions

Surgery can be a treatment solution for conditions that affect the chest area. These include the lungs, esophagus and mediastinum — the area between the lungs, trachea and diaphragm. We treat the following conditions and more:

Achalasia
Chest wall trauma
Chest wall tumors
Diaphragm disorders
Esophageal cancer
Esophagus disease
GERD
Hiatal hernia
Hyperhidrosis
Lung cancer
Lung nodules
Lung volume reduction
Mesothelioma
Myasthenia gravis
Pleural disorders
Tracheal disorders
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Testing

Your specialized care team will determine the right test based on your symptoms and medical and family health history. This can include a series of imaging tests, breathing tests and potential biopsy which involves taking a small sample to examine it more closely. 

Imaging tests

We work with our colleagues in radiology to get a clear picture of your thoracic region. We may order one or more of the following diagnostic imaging tests to help us make informed decisions about your health. 

Additional thoracic tests

Pulmonary function test

This test lets us know how your lungs are working. It measures how much air you can breathe in and out and how well the lungs deliver oxygen to your bloodstream

Bronchoscopy and biopsy

We'll use advanced technology to check every part of your lungs, inside and out. A robotic bronchoscope will navigate your lung's complex paths, making biopsies safer and more precise. In this procedure, we pass a small camera into your airways and lung that is safely navigated to the area of concern for further testing.

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Treatments

We’re always in pursuit of what’s next in healthcare and what’s next for your thoracic health. That’s why we offer the latest in minimally invasive surgical procedures to get your life back on track faster.

Bronchoscopic procedures

The lungs are delicate and can be difficult to reach because of their location. But a bronchoscope — a thin, flexible tube about the size of a pencil eraser — enables us to treat all kinds of pulmonary conditions. This tool allows us to perform a variety of procedures, from washing your airways to reducing the thickness of lung muscles to allow for easier breathing.

Thymectomy

A thymectomy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that removes the thymus gland, which is located behind the breastbone. A thymectomy is a common treatment for myasthenia gravis, which is an autoimmune disease that weakens your skeletal muscles.

Robotic-assisted surgery

Our thoracic surgeons are experts in the field of robotic-assisted surgery, including the state-of-the-art da Vinci® Surgical System that has been used for over 8.5 million successful surgeries worldwide.

This technology can be used for complex chest, lung, esophagus and stomach procedures. By making just a few small incisions, the surgical system provides a detailed 3D view of the affected area. Having a high-definition view of your insides empowers our doctors with greater precision, control and streamlined communication between the surgery team.

Treating achalasia

Achalasia is an esophageal disorder where food doesn’t move from your mouth to your stomach properly. It occurs when nerves in your esophagus and lower esophageal valve are damaged or destroyed, affecting the typical movements of your esophagus.

We can treat achalasia with endoscopic therapies or surgery. Endoscopic therapies like pneumatic dilation or Botox injections can temporarily improve your symptoms. Meanwhile, surgery can offer a permanent solution for your condition.

Laparoscopic Heller myotomy surgery

Laparoscopic Heller myotomy surgery is a minimally invasive method for opening the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) to relieve difficulty swallowing. It involves making several small incisions in the abdomen, through which we then insert tiny medical instruments and a camera. These tools guide the doctor as they cut through the muscular layer of the lower end of the esophagus and the upper area of the stomach. This type of surgery is also known as a myotomy.

We can also address gastric reflux during this procedure by using a process called fundoplication. To prevent acid from rising into the esophagus, we wrap a part of the stomach around the esophagus.

Anasuya Gunturi MD, PhD talks with patient at Lowell General Hospital's Women's Wellness Center clinic appointment.
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