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Thoracic Surgery

Virginia Mason Franciscan Health’s thoracic surgery department is the leading esophageal and pulmonary center in the Pacific Northwest. Our thoracic surgeons are experts in a variety of minimally invasive and robotic techniques, and perform hundreds of complex surgeries annually. We coordinate specialty care delivery for individuals in the Pacific Northwest and from across the United States.

Surgical care is performed with a multidisciplinary team of specialists. Our team works closely with the renowned teams in digestive diseases and gastroenterology, pulmonary medicine and cancer, as well as many other specialties to ensure we offer the most advanced treatment.

When you come to Virginia Mason Franciscan Health, you’ll receive individualized care at every stage of your journey, including extensive pulmonary testing, upper gastrointestinal endoscopy and esophageal motility studies. This individual attention enables your treatment plan to be tailored to your needs.

Conditions we treat

Our thoracic surgery team helps people with the following conditions:

  • Chest wall diseases and deformities
  • Diseases of the airway
  • Diseases of the pleura
  • Diaphragm rupture or hernia
  • Emphysematous lung tissue (COPD)
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Gastroesophageal reflux
  • Hyperhidrosis
  • Lung cancer
  • Mediastinal masses
  • Paraesophageal hernias
  • Swallowing problems
  • Thoracic outlet syndrome

Minimally invasive and robotic surgery

Our thoracic surgeons are trained to perform a wide variety of surgical procedures. Our team often employs minimally invasive techniques, including advanced laparoscopic, video-assisted surgery and robotic surgery. Robotic surgery, an extension of minimally invasive surgery, enables us to perform surgeries through small incisions while using sophisticated instruments mimicking the human wrists. This ability is helpful when working in the chest to enable the surgeon to dissect and move around vital structures.

Benefits of minimally invasive surgery over traditional open surgery include:

  • Less pain
  • Fewer complications
  • Shorter recovery times

Virginia Mason Franciscan Health is a high-volume center for state-of-the-art surgical treatment of both lung and esophageal cancer. Our thoracic surgery mortality rate is far lower than the national average at under 1 percent in more than 1,000 consecutive operations. Survival rates for our patients with thoracic malignancies greatly exceeds national average. The vast majority of lung operations are performed with robotic and minimally invasive techniques, resulting in rapid recovery and return home.

Thoracic surgery research—Benaroya Research Institute 

Thoracic surgery patients benefit from a partnership with the Benaroya Research Institute, dedicated to discovering new treatments and approaches to pulmonary disease. Our patients benefit from groundbreaking research taking place on a daily basis. As a patient, you may be offered the opportunity to be part of a research study and improve future outcomes.

Find a thoracic surgeon

Meet our team of thoracic surgeons and find a surgeon who’s right for you.