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Thoracic Surgery at North Shore-LIJ

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Conditions We Treat

Thoracic Surgery Conditions

Thoracic surgery provides operative and critical care treatments for diseases and injuries to the thorax (chest), including the heart, lungs, great vessels, esophagus and chest wall. General thoracic surgery consists of the treatment of thoracic conditions such as lung diseases, tumors and cancers, as well as esophageal problems and gastroesophageal reflux.

Our thoracic surgeons specialize in the treatment of a wide range of thoracic conditions including the following:

Achalasia
Bronchitis (Acute)
Bronchitis (Chronic)
Airway Conditions
Alveolitis
Bronchiectasis
Bronchiolitis
Byssinosis
Cancer of the Chest Wall/ Chest Tumors
Esophageal Cancer
Hiatal hernia
Hyperhidrosis / Sweaty Palm Syndrome
Lung Cancer
Lung Nodules
Mediastinal Disease (Mediastinal tumors)
Mesothelioma
Myasthenia Gravis
Pneumonia (Bacterial, Bronchial, Chroniceosinophilic, Lobar, Mycoplasma and Viral)
Pneumothorax
Pulmonary Hypertension (Primary hypertension, Secondary hypertension)
Pulmonary Embolism
Pulmonary Fibrosis (Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis)
Sarcoidosis
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)
Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm

Achalasia
Achalasia is a rare disease of the muscle of the esophagus (swallowing tube). Achalasia means "failure to relax" and refers to the lower esophageal sphincter (a ring of muscle situated between the lower esophagus and the stomach) failing to open and let food pass into the stomach. As a result, patients with achalasia have difficulty in swallowing food.

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Bronchitis (Acute)
Acute Bronchitis is a thoracic condition in which the bronchi become inflamed. Acute bronchitis is usually caused by a viral infection, although bacteria and chemicals also may cause the condition. Acute bronchitis lasts about two weeks and usually doesn’t have any permanent damage. Symptoms of bronchitis may include wheezing, chest pain or discomfort, a low fever and shortness of breath.

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Bronchitis (Chronic)
Chronic bronchitis is a cough that occurs every day with sputum production that lasts for at least three months, two years in a row. One of the leading causes of chronic bronchitis is smoking or being exposed to large amounts of second-hand smoke.

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Airway Conditions

  • Asthma Is a chronic thoracic condition that affects your airways and decreases the amount of air intake in your lungs during an attack. Symptoms of asthma include: coughing, especially at night; wheezing, shortness of breath; and chest tightness, pain or pressure.
     
  • Occupational asthma is asthma that is caused or worsened by breathing in a workplace substance, such as chemical fumes, gases or dust.
     
  • Emphysema is a type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) involving damage to the air sacs (alveoli) in the lungs. One of the main symptoms of emphysema is shortness of breath, which usually begins gradually. You may start avoiding activities that cause you to be short of breath, so the symptom doesn't become a problem until it starts interfering with daily tasks. Emphysema eventually causes shortness of breath even while you're at rest.
     
  • COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) is comprised primarily of three related conditions -- chronic bronchitis, chronic asthma, and emphysema. In each condition, there is a chronic obstruction of the flow of air through the airways and out of the lungs, and the obstruction generally is permanent and may be progressive over time.
     

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Alveolitis
Alveolitis is the Inflammation of the alveoli in the lungs caused by inhaling dust; with repeated exposure the condition may become chronic. Symptoms of alveolitis include coughing, flu-like symptoms and, occasionally, pneumonia.

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Bronchiectasis
Categorized as a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), bronchiectasis is manifested by airways that are inflamed and easily collapsible, resulting in air flow obstruction. Symptoms of bronchiectasis are shortness of breath, recurrent cough, sputum production, impaired clearance of secretions (often with a severe cough) and, occasionally, hemoptysis (bloody sputum).

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Bronchiolitis
Bronchiolitis causes swelling and mucus buildup in the smallest air passages in the lungs (bronchioles), and is usually due to a viral infection. This lung disease usually affects children under the age of two and is seasonal in the fall and winter months. The virus is transmitted from person to person by direct contact with nasal fluids or by airborne droplets.

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Byssinosis
A disease of the lungs, byssinosis maybe caused by breathing in cotton dust or dusts from other vegetable fibers such as flax, hemp, or sisal. Byssinosis usually occurs while at work.

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Cancer of the Chest Wall/ Chest Tumors
The walls of the chest cavity are susceptible to tumors. A tumor is any type of abnormal growth of cells, whether malignant (cancerous) or benign (non-cancerous). Benign chest wall tumors are not uncommon. Cancerous chest tumors are rare, but create a possible problem depending on their size and location.

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Esophageal Cancer
Esophageal tumors begin growing in the lining of the esophagus, and then can grow through the wall of the esophagus. Doctors are unable to pinpoint the causes of esophageal cancer, but risk factors may include being 65 or older, smoking, obesity, heavy drinking and acid reflux.

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Hiatal hernia

A hiatal hernia is an anatomical abnormality in which part of the stomach protrudes through the diaphragm and up into the chest. Hiatal hernia symptoms include heartburn, nausea and regurgitation.

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Hyperhidrosis / Sweaty Palm Syndrome

Known as sweaty palm syndrome, hyperhidrosis Is a common disorder that manifests with symptoms such as excessive sweating of palms, feet or underarms.

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Lung Cancer
This lung disease is caused by the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the lung. Instead of developing into healthy, normal lung tissue, these abnormal cells continue dividing and form lumps or masses of tissue called tumors. Tumors interfere with the main function of the lung. There are many symptoms of lung cancer including shortness of breath, wheezing, chest pain, shoulder pain and coughing up blood.

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Lung Nodules
Small, roundish growths on the lung, lung nodles are sometimes called spots on the lung, meaning that they are easy to find and hard to diagnose. People with solitary lung nodules do not usually experience symptoms.

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Mediastinal Disease (Mediastinal tumors)
Mediastinal disease refers to rare tumors that form in the middle of the chest area which separates the lungs. Almost half of mediastinal tumors cause no symptoms and are found on a chest x-ray performed for another reason.

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Mesothelioma
A rare form of cancer that can arise in the mesothelial lining of the lungs, heart or abdomen. Mesothelioma doesn't cause symptoms right away. Most people with mesothelioma have symptoms for at least a few months before they are diagnosed.

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Myasthenia Gravis
Myasthenia gravis is a chronic autoimmune neuromuscular disease characterized by varying degrees of weakness of the skeletal muscles of the body. Symptoms of myasthenia gravis occur predominantly in eye muscles (drooping eyelid, double vision), face and throat muscles, and neck and limb muscles.

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Pneumonia (Bacterial pneumonia, Bronchial pneumonia, Chroniceosinophilic pneumonia, Lobar pneumonia, Mycoplasma pneumonia, Viral pneumonia
Pneumonia is an infection of one or both lungs which is usually caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi. Pneumonia can often begin with flu-like symptoms like a cough and fever and progress to shortness of breath, sweating, shaking chills, chest pain, fatigue, headache and muscle pain.

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Pneumothorax
This lung condition causes air to leak into the chest cavity which results in compression of the chest structures, including vessels that return blood to the heart. This usually causes extreme chest pain. Causes of pneumothorax include chest injury, underlying lung disease or ruptured air blisters (blebs). Pneumothorax also can occur for no obvious reason.

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Pulmonary Hypertension (Primary hypertension, Secondary hypertension)
When pressure in the pulmonary circulation becomes abnormally elevated, pulmonary hypertension occurs. The hypertension results from constriction, or stiffening, of the pulmonary arteries that supply blood to the lungs. Consequently, it becomes more difficult for the heart to pump blood forward through the lungs. Primary pulmonary hypertension is not caused by any other disease or condition. Secondary pulmonary hypertension is caused by another underlying condition. Some symptoms of pulmonary hypertension include shortness of breath, light-headedness and fast heart rate.

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Pulmonary Embolism
This serious condition is caused by a blood clot in the lung that usually comes from smaller vessels in the leg, pelvis, arms or heart. The clot travels through the vessels of the lung and continues to reach smaller vessels until it becomes wedged in a vessel that is too small to allow it to continue further. Symptoms of pulmonary embolism include chest pain, rapid heart rate, sudden shortness of breath, sudden coughing (sometimes with blood).

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Pulmonary Fibrosis (Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis)
This refers to scarring throughout the lungs. Pulmonary fibrosis causes come from many conditions, including chronic inflammatory processes, infections, environmental agents, exposure to certain gases, exposure to ionizing radiation and chronic conditions.

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Sarcoidosis
Sarcoidosis is a disease that results from a specific type of inflammation of tissues of the body. It can appear in almost any body organ, but it starts most often in the lungs or lymph nodes. Symptoms of sarcoidosis can include dry cough, shortness of breath, discomfort behind the breast bone and abnormal breath sounds.

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Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)
This is an infectious respiratory illness caused by a virus.The infection is spread easily from person to person through respiratory droplets. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome causes acute respiratory distress (severe breathing difficulty) and sometimes death.

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Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm
An aortic aneurysm is an enlargement of a weakened area of the aorta. Aneurysms which involve the ascending aorta, aortic arch and descending thoracic aorta are termed "thoracic aortic aneurysms." Aneurysms in these regions are prone to rupture once they reach a certain size. Hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) is one of the most common causes of thoracic aortic aneurysm. People with high cholesterol, long-term high blood pressure or who smoke are prone to atherosclerosis.

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