Navigation Search

Diagnosing and Treating Thoracic Disease


If you need treatment for thoracic issues such as GERD or tumors of the lung, esophagus, or thymus, you’re in capable hands at Maimonides Medical Center. Our specialized thoracic surgery team has advanced fellowship training and experience in diagnosing and treating a wide range of thoracic diseases.

Our team of experts works together to provide the most effective treatment for your specific diagnosis and health needs.


Diagnosing Thoracic Disease

Our doctors rely on the latest technology to give you a fast and accurate diagnosis. Some of our more advanced diagnostic tools include:

  • Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS): Your doctor inserts a thoracoscope (thin tube and tiny camera) into a small incision to view the lungs and chest area. We also perform biopsies and surgery without opening the chest. Learn more about VATS.

  • Endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS): Your doctor threads a bronchoscope, a thin tube with a light and camera on the end, down the throat and into the lungs. An ultrasound probe then captures images. Brushes or needles passed through the bronchoscope collect cells to detect lung cancer or other diseases.

  • Navigational bronchoscopy: This device uses the most advanced imaging techniques to find and reach tumors deep in the lung.

  • Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS): Your doctor places an endoscope, a device with a small video camera and sound wave probe, down the throat and into the esophagus and stomach. An ultrasound display shows the resulting images. Your doctor may also insert a thin, hollow needle through the endoscope to collect cells to detect esophageal cancer or other diseases.

Treating Thoracic Disease

Our surgical team is committed to using minimally invasive techniques. This approach means less pain and scarring and a faster recovery.

We offer a wide range of procedures for thoracic conditions, including :

  • Lung disease

  • Esophageal disease

  • Chest disorders

Treatments for lung disease

We offer a wide range of thoracic surgeries to treat lung disease, including minimally invasive lung cancer surgery. Depending on your diagnosis, you may undergo one or more of these procedures:

  • Video-assisted and robotic-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS and RATS): Your doctor inserts a thoracoscope into a small incision to perform surgeries without opening the chest. Using these minimally invasive techniques, our surgeons can remove tumors of the lung and mediastinum (the central part of the thoracic cavity) with less pain, scarring and infection. You can also return sooner to everyday activities. Our goal is to leave as much healthy lung as possible. We perform:

    • Segmentectomy: Removal of a small lung segment

    • Lobectomy: Removal of one lung lobe

    • Pneumonectomy: Removal of an entire lung

  • Ablation therapies: Your doctor uses electrical energy or lasers to shrink or destroy tumors.

  • Diaphragmatic plication: A paralyzed diaphragm occurs when cancer, trauma or another issue damages the phrenic nerve. Since the nerve controls the muscle separating the chest from the abdomen, breathing becomes difficult. Our surgeons use minimally invasive techniques to pull the muscle down and give the lungs more space to expand.

Treatments for esophageal disease

Our surgical team performs a number of thoracic surgeries to treat esophageal cancer and other esophageal disorders. Depending on your diagnosis, your treatment options include:

  • Laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): Maimonides surgeon Rudolph Nissen pioneered this procedure at the center that now bears his name, the Nissen Center. This process involves wrapping part of your stomach around the bottom of your esophagus. As a result, food and liquids can’t leak back up into your esophagus.

  • Minimally invasive esophagectomy: Your surgeon removes a cancerous or diseased section of your esophagus.  

  • Hiatal hernia repair: Our surgeons use minimally invasive procedures to place protruding stomach tissue back into the abdominal cavity. We also offer laparoscopic repair for giant paraesophageal hernias, a serious condition that causes more than 30 percent of the stomach to herniate into the chest.

  • Peroral endoscopic myotomy (POEM) for achalasia: Using an endoscope or small viewing device, your doctor makes an incision in the lining of the esophagus and cuts the muscle at the lower part of the esophageal sphincter. This procedure allows foods and liquids to pass more easily into the stomach.

Treatments for chest disorders

We’re experts at treating chest disorders, including mesothelioma, a cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, abdomen, heart or other organs. We offer:

  • Extra-pleural pneumonectomy: Your surgeon removes parts of the body affected by mesothelioma, such as the lung, lymph glands or segments of the diaphragm, the muscle separating the chest from the abdomen.

  • Pleurectomy and decortication: Your doctor removes only the cancerous parts of your lungs, such as the lining and tumors, while leaving most of the lung intact.

  • Video-assisted pleurodesis: Your doctor uses a catheter to drain fluid that has built up inside the chest. You may receive an injectable medication through the catheter to prevent fluid buildup from recurring.

  • Nuss procedure: Some children are born with an unusual chest wall feature called pectus excavatum (sunken chest) or pectus carinatum (pigeon chest). During a minimally invasive corrective surgery, the doctor places small steel bars behind the breastbone and onto the outside of the ribs. These bars help raise the breastbone over the course of several years before being removed.

Contact Us

To make an appointment with a Maimonides thoracic surgeon, call 718-283-7686 or request an appointment online.