Thoracic Surgery

Overview

What Is Thoracic Surgery?

Thoracic surgery is the practice of medicine directed toward the surgical treatment of diseases of the chest including cancers of the lung, esophagus, and chest wall; birth defects of the chest; and tumors in the organs contained in the chest cavity.

What is the Thorax?

The word thoracic is the adjective form of the noun "thorax." The word thorax derives from the Greek and Latin words for breastplate or chest. The term thorax refers to the area of the human body that is located between the neck and the abdomen. The thorax contains the heart, lungs, esophagus and great vessels surrounded by the breastbone or sternum in front, the ribs on each side, and the vertebral column in the back.

How Much Training Does a Thoracic Surgeon Receive?

Thoracic surgeons are among the most highly educated specialists. After college and medical school training, soon-to-be thoracic surgeons will:

  • Devote up to five years to a general surgical residency
  • Devote two to three years to thoracic surgery residency
  • Pass the certifying examination of the American Board of Thoracic Surgery