We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Thoracic Surgery?

Mary McMahon
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Thoracic surgery is a surgical specialty which is focused on procedures involving the chest, more formally known as the thorax. It may also be known as cardiothoracic surgery; cardiothoracic surgeons focus on heart and lung surgery in particular. This surgical specialty can be highly competitive and extremely challenging, but many thoracic surgeons also say that it is extremely rewarding. In addition to working in a medical practice, a thoracic surgeon can also work in research, developing new techniques and technologies to improve his or her medical field.

In order to become a thoracic surgeon, a doctor must complete medical school and a residency in general surgery, followed by a fellowship in thoracic or cardiothoracic surgery. In some countries, cardiac surgery is an entirely separate discipline with its own medical specialists, while in the United States, cardiac surgery is considered a branch of thoracic surgery. If a thoracic surgeon wants to choose a subspecialty, an additional fellowship may be required. Board certification in thoracic surgery is also an option, though it is not required for medical practice.

Thoracic surgeons operate on the heart, lungs, lymph nodes, esophagus, and diaphragm. They may also work with other surgeons on complex cases which require a surgical team. Thoracic surgeons are also important members of organ recovery teams, since the heart and chest area must be carefully managed during organ recovery to keep the donor's organs viable. Surgeons can also choose to specialize in things like thoracic surgery for children, or the treatment of pulmonary conditions.

In the medical community, thoracic surgery has a reputation as a high-risk specialty with a lot of big egos. While open heart surgery and other cardiothoracic procedures can certainly be dramatic, thoracic surgeons are well aware that they work as part of larger teams, and this surgical discipline actually places a high value on cooperation and networking with other medical specialists. A thoracic surgeon relies on a highly trained support team of other surgeons, scrub nurses, and hospital personnel.

Patients are referred to a thoracic surgeon when it becomes apparent that they have chest conditions which require surgical treatment. Heart disease, lung disease, and other cardiac problems are extremely common in many parts of the world, meaning that specialists in this discipline are rarely bored. Some doctors of thoracic surgery also try to dedicate time every year to charitable work, either in their communities or in developing nations as part as mercy missions to communities in need.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a The Health Board researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

By anon284328 — On Aug 09, 2012

My fiancee had a car accident two days ago, and the doctor says they need to do a thoracic surgery on the chest because he hit his chest on some object.

They brought him to ICU while unconscious and in critical condition, but the doctors says that he will be O.K. after the surgery. Is this a very dangerous surgery, and how long will he need to recover after the surgery and can he fly back home here in the US, or does he need a complete rest and for how long in order for him to travel? Please let me know.

By watson42 — On Jan 30, 2011

@serfer, I personally think that might be true for any sort of surgeon. Surgery in general demands a certain level of patience, attention to detail, and memory for things like charts and graphs that I know I cannot handle. However, I think many people who have a profession in surgery also feel that it is where they ought to be, and what they ought to be doing; for them, it's just what they do, at least most of the time.

By serfer — On Jan 28, 2011

Not too long ago, my grandmother had a collapsed lung and had to have immediate thoracic surgery. I have to say though, after seeing the way that the thoracic surgeons handled the case, I don't envy them their jobs. I really can't imagine a more stressful and involved profession!

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.