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Thoracic surgery

Thoracic Surgery

Virginia Mason Franciscan Health’s thoracic surgery team is among the most experienced on the West Coast. Our surgeons perform a high volume of complex procedures using the most advanced surgery methods. 

We are proud to be world leaders in patient recovery after esophageal and lung surgery. With our practices, you are out of the hospital — and back to your life — much sooner than you might expect.

Thoracic surgery: Why choose us?

Our consistently exceptional outcomes and skilled team attract patients from across the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Highlights of our care include:

  • Faster recovery: We perform most of our thoracic surgeries with robotic methods. Our experts control slim robotic tools that offer precise movements through tiny incisions.  These techniques and our world-class post-surgery support help you have a faster, safer and easier recovery.
  • Tumor board: Thoracic surgery, radiology, radiation oncology, medical oncology, gastroenterology and pathology experts comprise our center’s Thoracic Oncology Tumor Board. This group meets to discuss individual cases, ensuring our patients receive the highest quality care.
  • Convenient care: Our experienced thoracic surgeons are available at St. Michael, St. Joseph and Virginia Mason Medical Center. No matter which location you choose, you have access to advanced robotic surgery for the full range of esophageal and lung conditions. 
  • Multispecialty team: Our thoracic surgeons partner with specialists in cardiac surgery, gastroenterology, pulmonary medicine and oncology. You receive comprehensive care for any thoracic condition, from common issues to rare, complex cancers.
  • Personalized support: Our care coordinators help you with appointments and tests so you can focus on getting better. Your coordinator is here for you at every step when you have questions or need assistance.

Diagnostic tests we provide

A detailed diagnosis is key to determining the best treatment for you. At Virginia Mason Franciscan Health, we offer a complete array of advanced tests for thoracic conditions. Tests we provide include:

  • We guide an endoscope (thin, lighted tube with a camera) into your throat to view the esophagus without making incisions. Our team provides:

    • Endoscopic biopsies
    • Endoscopic ultrasound
    • Endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR)
    • Endoscopic submucosal dissection (ESD)

    We partner with our skilled gastroenterologists to provide these leading-edge endoscopic procedures. Learn more about advanced endoscopy at Virginia Mason Franciscan Health.

  • You have access to the full range of imaging tests through our Imaging and Radiology Department, including:

    • Computed tomography (CT)
    • Interventional radiology
    • Lung cancer screening using low-dose CT 
    • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
    • Positron emission tomography (PET)
    • PET/CT scans
  • We collaborate with interventional pulmonologists (lung doctors who provide minimally invasive procedures). They provide leading-edge lung tests that diagnose and treat lung diseases. Our minimally invasive tests include: 

    • Endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS) bronchoscopy: This test combines an endoscope and ultrasound to collect detailed images of your lungs.
    • Robotic-assisted bronchoscopy: This scan creates real-time images of your airways, allowing us to view lung and airway nodules (abnormal growths) deep in your lungs.

Types of thoracic surgery we provide

We see patients from across the country and work with physicians both within and outside of our health system. If you live outside of the Puget Sound region, our team works with your medical providers back home. We ensure you receive seamless care before and after your surgery.

Robotic thoracic surgery

We are among the highest volume robotic thoracic surgery centers on the West Coast, giving us an uncommon level of expertise. During these procedures, our surgeons control thin instruments that are equipped with high-definition 3D cameras. Robotic surgery offers a high level of precision for even the most complex procedures. These tools only require small, 8- to 12-millimeter incisions, so you have less visible scars and a significantly lower risk of pain and complications.

Other thoracic surgery options

Our surgical team carefully evaluates your case to determine the best procedure for your needs. We get to know you and recommend the most effective treatment based on your age, overall health and lifestyle. If robotic surgery isn’t best for you, our surgeons also offer:

  • Endoscopic thoracic procedures, which use an endoscope to perform lung surgery through your throat
  • Traditional (open) surgery, including the most complex procedures for advanced lung cancer 
  • Video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS), which uses a thoracoscope (thin tube) that we insert through your chest wall

Conditions we treat with thoracic surgery

We perform thousands of thoracic procedures each year. With our program, you receive the most advanced surgeries available to treat cancers of the chest area, including all stages of:

  • Esophageal cancer 
  • Lung cancer
  • Mediastinal tumors

Benign (non-cancerous) esophageal conditions we treat include:

Our surgeons also treat the full range of chest and lung conditions, including:

  • Chest wall malformations and trauma
  • Hernias in the chest, including hiatal and paraesophageal hernias 
  • Hyperhidrosis
  • Lung diseases, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Pleural disorders, including infections and pleural effusions
  • Thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS)

Find a thoracic surgeon

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