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Thoracic Surgery

orthopedic oncology patient stretching in front of sunrise
orthopedic oncology patient stretching in front of sunrise

Why choose Ochsner Health for your thoracic surgical care?

The Ochsner thoracic surgery team unites specialists from multiple disciplines to diagnose and treat diseases of the lungs, esophagus, trachea, diaphragm and chest wall. At Ochsner, your care comes through two fellowship-trained and board-certified thoracic surgeons — the only true general thoracic surgeons in New Orleans.

You’ll also be supported by two thoracic physician assistants, a thoracic oncology navigator and a team of pulmonologists, radiologists, oncologists and pathologists, all working together to improve your health. This multidisciplinary team meets each week to plan a comprehensive approach to your progress.

Our leading experts guide your care and deliver positive outcomes that meet and exceed national standards. Together they continue the Ochsner traditions of discovery, innovation and exceptional patient care that began with a pioneer in thoracic surgery, our co-founder, Dr. Alton Ochsner.

Ochsner Health is nationally ranked in the nation’s top 10% in Pulmonology and Lung Surgery care by U.S. News & World Report. Ochsner Medical Center also ranked “High Performing” in lung cancer surgery by U.S. News & World Report.

The thoracic surgery program at Ochsner Medical Center - New Orleans is recognized as a 3-star program for lobectomy and lung cancer resection by the Society of Thoracic Surgeons. This places the program in the top 2.5% of programs in North America who report their data to the Society of Thoracic Surgeons and is a measure of program quality and outcomes.

Our experienced surgeons were the first in Louisiana and Mississippi to combine the use of the Ion robotic bronchoscope and the daVinci Xi robot during the same procedure.

Before and after any chest surgery, we gather healthcare resources to make your experience smoother and help you heal as quickly as possible.

Our single-event anesthesia program, for example, is designed to diagnose and treat lung cancer on the same day. This helps patients avoid weeks of diagnostic tests followed by treatments. You will also have less exposure to anesthesia. Our Enhanced Recovery After Surgery program helps patients make quicker recoveries and reduces the length of their hospital stays.

As one of Louisiana’s most comprehensive and respected healthcare resources, Ochsner assembles a vast network of accomplished experts to help manage your health. When your care requires expertise from more than one specialist, our multidisciplinary clinic simplifies the process of scheduling appointments at Ochsner.

Our clinic carefully coordinates all the specialists and healthcare providers who may be part of your care, from hematology/oncology and pulmonology services to physical therapy and experts in nutrition, who can partner with you to improve your health and quality of life. We make it seamless to see all of the Ochsner specialists who work together to nurture your health and well-being.

The thoracic surgery team at Ochsner brings personalized care and state-of-the-art medicine and technology to patients across the Gulf South. With licenses to practice in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, our doctors can sometimes schedule patient consultations and post-operative visits virtually to provide easy access to high-quality care. Find a location near you.

Our highly skilled thoracic surgeons offer the full scope of thoracic surgical care, including treatments for these conditions and more:

  • Airway tumors — tumors that develop in the trachea (windpipe)
  • Chest wall tumors — growths that form in the chest cavity that protects the heart and lungs
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) — a blockage in the airway that makes breathing difficult
  • Emphysema — damage to tiny sacs in the lung tissue
  • Esophageal cancer — cancer cells that form in the hollow tube that runs between the throat and the stomach
  • Hyperhidrosis — excessive sweating that develops even when not exercising or because of heat
  • Lung cancer — cancer that forms in the tissue of the lungs
  • Mesothelioma — cancer of tissue lining the abdomen, chest wall and lungs

Ochsner thoracic surgeons perform minimally invasive surgeries using cameras and instruments inserted into small incisions. These techniques promote shorter hospital stays and quicker recoveries. Our resources also include advanced laparoscopic, video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery and robotic surgical approaches. Robotic techniques reduce blood loss, allow surgeons to see the body more accurately during surgeries, and help patients avoid invasive procedures linked to higher pain and lengthier recovery time. Most lung resection surgeries, in which all or part of the lung are removed, are performed robotically.

Ochsner’s thoracic surgery team performs some of the region’s most advanced surgical procedures, including:

  • Chest wall resection and reconstruction — removal of cartilage, ribs, sternum and soft tissues to access tumors, then rebuilding the chest wall structure with prosthetics
  • Esophageal surgery and esophagectomy — removal of the esophagus and lymph nodes as a treatment for esophageal cancer
  • Fiberoptic bronchoscopy — use of a camera to examine the airways in the lungs
  • Lung removal (partial or complete)
  • Resection of lung tumor — removal of a tumor in the lung
  • Thymectomy, both open and minimally invasive — removal of the thymus gland, an organ in the upper chest that makes white blood cells
  • Tracheal reconstruction — widening of the trachea (windpipe) to help patients breathe more easily
  • Tracheal resection — removal of a damaged part of the trachea and reconnecting the ends

FAQs

When someone needs surgery that affects the organs inside the chest, it is performed by a thoracic or cardiothoracic surgeon, physicians who are trained to perform chest surgeries and diagnostic tests. Physicians in this area of specialization may perform over 100 different procedures that treat or diagnose diseases of the lungs, trachea, esophagus, chest wall, mediastinum and diaphragm.

With over 200,000 new cases of lung cancer each year, lung cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. For this reason, video assisted thoracoscopic surgeries to treat lung cancer are among the most frequently performed thoracic surgeries. This technique inserts a small camera and surgical instruments through a small incision in the chest. Our thoracic surgeons typically use this method to drain chest fluid and biopsy lung tissue.

The degree of pain you may have after thoracic or cardiothoracic surgeries depends on what type of procedure you have. Some chest surgeries, for example, may require surgeons to gain access to the chest cavity by cutting the ribs or the breast bone. This is called open surgery, and it is more painful than minimally invasive techniques that permit thoracic surgeons to do their work through tiny incisions. If open surgery is necessary, your pain can be managed with what’s known as multimodal pain management, a combination of medicines that are tailored for each patient. Whenever possible, physicians will help patients manage pain with non-opioid pain medicines to avoid side effects from opioid prescriptions.

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Map of Ochsner-affiliated facilities that provide services related to Thoracic Surgery

Thoracic Surgery Locations

Heart & Vascular Center of Acadiana
155 Hospital Drive
Lafayette, LA 70503
  • Monday–Thursday: 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Friday: 8 a.m.-noon
Ochsner Lafayette General Medical Center
1214 Coolidge St.
Lafayette, LA 70503
  • Open 24/7
Ochsner Cancer Center – Baton Rouge
17050 Medical Center Drive
Baton Rouge, LA 70816