Learn more about Cardiothoracic Surgery

A thoracic surgeon specializes in the surgical care of people of all ages with conditions and diseases of the chest. The chest includes the heart, lungs, trachea (windpipe), esophagus, diaphragm, and chest wall. Thoracic surgeons treat a variety of diseases and conditions that require chest surgery, including heart disease, lung and esophagus cancer, chest trauma, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Thoracic surgeons are also called cardiothoracic surgeons and cardiac surgeons to emphasize heart surgery.

A thoracic surgeon typically:

  • Evaluates a patient’s medical history and educates the patient about his or her condition including the surgical treatment and aftercare

  • Performs a physical exam including evaluation of blood pressure and vital signs; weight; and the health of the heart, lungs, and blood vessels

  • Orders and interprets laboratory and imaging tests and prescribes medications

  • Orders and evaluates diagnostic procedures, such as EKG, echocardiogram, and cardiac catheterization

  • Diagnoses and treats acute and chronic diseases and conditions that affect the major structures and organs in the chest

  • Works closely with your primary care doctor, cardiologist, pulmonologist, and other specialists to provide optimal care

A thoracic surgeon may also be known by the following names: chest surgeon, lung surgeon, heart and lung surgeon, general thoracic surgeon, trauma surgeon, and cardiothoracic surgeon.

There are 6488 specialists practicing Thoracic Surgery in the United States with an overall average rating of 4.4 stars. There are 2061 hospitals in the United States with affiliated Thoracic Surgery specialists, including NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, Cleveland Clinic and NYU Langone Health Tisch Hospital.