Thoracic Surgery

Visit the Thoracic Division Homepage Under the leadership of Dr. Nasser Altorki the Division of Thoracic Surgery at Weill Cornell Medicine|NewYork-Presbyterian provides comprehensive care to patients with diseases of the lung, trachea, esophagus, chest wall, and mediastinum (the middle section of the chest cavity).

We bring together a multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals who collaborate in one of the nation's top hospitals to manage the full range of thoracic disorders — from the routine to the most complex. Thoracic surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists, pulmonologists, gastroenterologists, radiologists, pathologists, neurologists, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, dedicated thoracic intensive care nurses, respiratory therapists, speech therapists, and social workers work as one team to deliver seamless, high-quality care to our patients before, during, and after their hospital stay. Patients have access to the full complement of care, including the services of other departments who can treat other health disorders as well as rehabilitation services (such as respiratory therapy, physical therapy, nutritionists, and swallowing support) to get them back to a healthy level of function.

We firmly believe that our patients should be treated with compassion. We understand that the diagnosis of thoracic disorders can be worrisome and may cause anxiety and distress, so we are sure to attend to patients' emotional needs as well. We schedule appointments as quickly as possible after we are contacted for a thoracic consultation so new patients can be seen by one of our specialists. We also coordinate with other departments to ensure that scheduling of other services and tests, surgery, and subsequent appointments are completed smoothly. Our aim is to provide the results of our evaluation in a timely manner so we can tailor each patient's individualized plan of care. Our patient coordinators help with the scheduling of all tests and appointments, provide directions, take care of insurance issues, and generally guide patients and their families as they navigate the healthcare system.

Weill Cornell Medicine is home to one of the busiest and most sophisticated minimally invasive thoracic surgery programs in the world. About 80 percent of our patients are able to have their surgery performed through such an approach. Our surgeons have pioneered the development of surgical procedures that can be performed through small incisions, which are now being implemented at other medical centers. These approaches result in less blood loss, less postoperative pain, a shorter hospital stay, and a quicker recovery and return to normal activities. Minimally invasive approaches also enable many elderly and very ill patients to undergo surgical treatment that they would not have been able to tolerate using a conventional open surgical approach.

The thoracic surgeons at Weill Cornell Medicine use minimal access approaches to diagnose and treat:

Lung Cancer

Video-thoracoscopic Procedures (such as navigational bronchoscopy) and robotic lobectomy.

Esophageal Cancer

Video-thoracoscopic Procedures and Laparoscopy

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

Laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication

Achalasia

laparoscopic myotomy

Hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating)

Endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy (ETS)

Cancer and other disorders of the thymus

Thymectomy, including robotic thymectomy when possible.

Clinical and translational research is an integral part of the division. Patients have the opportunity to enroll in clinical trials assessing new, potentially more effective approaches to treating thoracic diseases. We try to offer every patient a clinical trial whenever possible.

Our laboratory studies are focused on understanding the genetic bases of lung, esophageal and other thoracic cancers. We also have an active collaboration with other Weill Cornell Medicine scientists exploring cancer immunology and lung cancer vaccines, so that we may translate our research findings into new ways to find thoracic cancers early, treat them, and possibly even cure them.