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General thoracic surgery involves the treatment of thoracic conditions such as lung diseases, tumors, cancers and transplants as well as esophageal problems and gastroesophageal reflux.
The division of Thoracic Surgery within the North Shore-LIJ Health System is home to dedicated thoracic surgeons and thoracic specialists who treat thoracic conditions such as achalasia, lung cancer, pneumonia, pulmonary hypertension and sarcoidosis with a selection of surgical and non-surgical treatments, medicines and rehabilitation. Our thoracic surgeons receive advanced training and certifications, making them among the best thoracic surgeons in the country. We specialize in the treatment of a wide range of thoracic conditions including the following:
Cancer of the chest wall / Chest Tumors
Hyperhidrosis / Sweaty Palm Syndrome
Mediastinal Disease (Mediastinal Tumors)
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)
Thoracic Aortic Aneurysms
Treatments for Achalasia
Effective treatments for achalasia include oral medications, stretching of the lower esophageal sphincter (dilation), surgery to cut the sphincter (esophagomyotomy), and the injection of botulinum toxin (Botox) into the sphincter. All four treatments for achalasia reduce the pressure within the lower esophageal sphincter to allow easier passage of food from the esophagus into the stomach.
Treatments for Bronchitis (Chronic)
It is important to stay away from anything that can aggravate and lower the air quality and to avoid smoking. There are certain medications that can be inhaled into the lungs to help patients.
Treatments for Airway Conditions (Asthma, Occupational Asthma, Bronchitis, Emphysema, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
Treatments for airway conditions can encompass a variety of tactics from quitting smoking, taking medications to decrease inflammation, regular oxygen supplementation and pulmonary rehabilitation.
Treatments for Bronchiectasis
The main objective in treatments for bronchiectasis is to control infections and bronchial secretions, relieving airway obstruction and preventing complications. Regular, daily drainage to remove bronchial secretions is a routine part of treatment. A respiratory therapist can show the patient coughing exercises that will help. Antibiotics, bronchodilators and expectorants are often prescribed for infections. Surgery to resect the lung may be needed, if medicine does not work or if the patient has massive bleeding.
Treatments for Byssinosis
You must stop being exposed to the dust that caused your disease. You may need to change jobs to avoid being exposed to more dust. Additional treatments for byssinosis incude:
Treatments for Cancer of the chest wall/ Chest Tumors
In the case of malignant chest wall tumors, treatment options are similar to those for other forms of cancer. Radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or surgical removal might be recommended. Some benign tumors might have to be removed if they interfere with proper organ function.
Treatments for Esophageal Cancer
Treatment will depend on the stage the cancer is in at the time of diagnosis, the overall condition of the patient, and whether the cancer has spread to other organs. If the cancer has not spread to other organs, surgery may be performed to remove a portion of the esophagus. In some cases, the surgery will also involve removing the stomach, spleen, and lymph nodes inside the chest. During surgical treatment for esophageal cancer, another part of the lower bowel is pulled up and attached to the remaining section of the esophagus.
Patients may receive chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments after the surgery. If the cancer has spread to other organs, combined chemotherapy and radiotherapy is the most common treatment. This form of treatment is also used in cases where the patient can't have surgery.
Treatments for Hiatal Hernia
Most patients don't have any symptoms, so treatment is often not needed. In the case of paraesophaeal hernia (when part of the stomach squeezes through the hiatus) surgery is usually recommended.
Treatments for Hyperhidrosis / Sweaty Palm Syndrome
Patients can be treated by using a combination of prescription strength antiperspirants and oral medication to help stop the amount and frequency of sweating. Cervical sympathectomy surgery is a last resort as a treatment for hyperhidrosis.
Treatments for Lung Cancer
Treatment can involve surgical removal of the cancer, chemotherapy or radiation therapy, as well as combinations of these treatments. The decision about which treatments for lung cancer will be appropriate for a given individual must take into account the location and extent of the tumor, as well as the overall health of the patient.
Treatments for Lung Nodules
Benign pulmonary lung nodules require no treatment. Cancerous lung nodules, however, usually are surgically removed. Surgical procedures are used, depending on the size, condition and location of the nodule.
Treatments for Mediastinal Disease (Mediastinal Tumors)
Treatment for Mediastinal tumors can be surgical removal, radiation therapy or chemotherapy can be used at treatments for mediastinal disease (depending on the type, size and location of the tumor).
Treatments for Myasthenia Gravis
There are several medications that can be used as treatments for myasthenia gravis to help improve neuromuscular transmission and increase muscle strength. Surgical removal of the thymus gland (which often is abnormal in myasthenia gravis patients) can provide relief for some patients.
Treatments for Pneumonia (Bacterial pneumonia, Bronchial pneumonia, Chronic eosinophilic pneumonia, Lobar pneumonia, Mycoplasma pneumonia, Viral pneumonia
There are different treatment options for each of these specific conditions. There are several antibiotic medications and vaccines available as treatments for preventing pneumonia.
Treatments for Pneumothorax
It is possible for a pneumothorax to repair itself. However, if the condition is larger, it may require the insertion of a syringe or a chest tube to draw out air. Surgery may be needed to repair a leaking lung if the problem is reoccurring.
Treatments for Pulmonary Hypertension (primary and secondary)
Treatments are determined depending on the source of the hypertension and if it is primary or secondary. For patients with primary pulmonary hypertension (those with no underlying cause), more advanced treatments for pulmonary hypertension may be attempted, such as a combination of medication and/or surgery. If a clot is present, surgery can be used to remove it.
Treatments for Pulmonary Embolism
Depending on the individual case of pulmonary embolism, treatments may include oxygen, blood pressure medication and blood thinning medication to help stabilize the patient. Other medications called clot busters may be used to help break up the clot that is blocking the blood vessel in the lung.
Treatments for Pulmonary Fibrosis
Pulmonary fibrosis patients are treated with medicines, oxygen therapy and pulmonary rehabilitation (rehab).The goal of treatments for pulmonary fibrosis is to prevent more lung scarring.
Treatments for Sarcoidosis
Sarcoidosis usually goes away on its own, but in the event that treatments for sarcoidosis are needed, therapy will be administered with the goal of making sure the lungs and all other affected organs are working without strain or interference. There are certain medications which can be taken to limit symptoms, but they are usually avoided in the initial steps.
Treatments for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)
Patients with SARS often require oxygen. Severe cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) require treatments like mechanical ventilation. No medication has been proven to treat SARS effectively.
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Treatments for Thoracic Aortic Aneurysms
Surgery is possible to repair the aortic valves. They may need to be replaced or repaired. Treatments for thoracic aortic aneurysms include minimally invasive techniques and approaches to minimize the trauma to the area.