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Thoracic and Foregut Surgery

Thoracic and gastrointestinal (foregut) conditions can significantly impact your quality of life. Whether you’re dealing with a serious cancer, everyday pain, having trouble eating or experiencing life-threatening symptoms, our team is ready to help. Working closely together with our specialists in oncology, pulmonary medicine, gastroenterology, radiology and other specialists, we're able to develop a care plan that meets your unique needs—all so you can get back to the life you love.

Feel Confident in Your Care

As the largest thoracic and foregut surgery group in the area, we see approximately 2,500 new patients and perform 800 surgeries every year. And that means we have the experience you need to know you’re in good hands. Our surgeons are also trained in the latest surgical techniques and interventions, which means you’ll have access to today’s most promising treatment options.

We offer a unique experience through:

  • Around-the-clock availability: We have a surgeon on call to assist you any time of day, every day of the year.
  • Specialization: As surgeons, we each have an individual expertise with the diseases we treat. As a result, we can provide the highest level of care.
  • Team training: Our providers are certified and have specific training in thoracic care. This includes our surgeons, intensive care doctors, anesthesiologists, nutritionists, nurse practitioners, physician associates, respiratory therapists and nursing staff.

Find the Treatment You Need

It’s our goal to personalize your care, using advanced, leading-edge therapies to address your specific condition. And if your care plan includes treatment for thoracic or foregut-related cancer, we’ll work closely with the cancer specialists at the VCU Massey Comprehensive Cancer Center to ensure you have all the support you need.

Our highly specialized team can treat:

Lung cancer, which affects both smokers and non-smokers, is the worldwide leading cause of cancer death. Early-stage disease typically doesn’t cause symptoms. But as the disease progresses, people can experience a variety of signs, including cough, chest pain, bone pain, headache and shortness of breath. Visit masseycancercenter.org to learn more.

Treatments we offer:

  • Robotic and minimally invasive lung cancer resections, lung preserving surgery

There are two types of esophageal cancer—squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma. Esophageal cancer is one of the fastest rising cancers in America. It causes trouble swallowing and weight loss. Treatment usually involves chemotherapy and radiation treatments along with minimally invasive surgery at high volume centers like VCU. In certain cases when cancer is picked up at an early stage, curative treatment can be achieved by removal of the tumor through endoscopy.

Treatments we offer:

  • Minimally invasive esophagectomy, robotic esophagectomy
  • Cryotherapy
  • Endoscopic resection
  • Complex esophageal reconstruction with colon and super-charged jejunum

GERD, which doesn’t let the muscle at the bottom of the esophagus close properly, is the most common esophageal disorder—and hiatal hernia (part of your stomach pushing up through your diaphragm) can often be the cause. Patients with GERD and hiatal hernia often experience heartburn, regurgitation of food and sometimes swallowing issues. When these symptoms are not improved with medical treatment, minimally invasive surgery is considered as a durable option.

Treatments we offer:

  • Laparoscopic fundoplication (anti-reflux surgery), Nissen fundoplication
  • LINX® Reflux Management System (Magnetic augmentation of esophageal valve muscle)
  • Transoral Incisionless Fundoplication (TIF) procedure (fundoplication done with a camera down the esophagus, no incisions on the abdomen)

If you have achalasia, the muscle at the bottom of your esophagus can’t relax, so food can’t enter the stomach, leading to a feeling that food is hanging up in the chest and sometimes coming back up. Achalasia diagnosis requires special testing to measure pressure in the esophagus called manometry, offered at VCU and requires careful review of all studies before undergoing corrective surgery.

Treatments we offer:

  • Peroral endoscopic myotomy (POEM) procedure—cut the muscle via endoscopy
  • Robotic Heller myotomy

Developing in the chest between the lungs and around the heart, mediastinal tumors are generally slow growing and are noncancerous. However, over time, they can become cancerous and large enough to require complex surgery. These tumors include thymoma, germ cell tumors and large thyroid tumors. Occasionally, they are associated with a condition called Myesthenia Gravis, requiring removal of the thymus gland.

Treatments we offer:

  • Minimally invasive surgery for resection, robot assisted thymectomy

Tracheal tumors—which can be cancerous (squamous cell carcinoma, adenoid cystic carcinoma, or carcinoid) or non-cancerous (chondromas, hemangiomas, or papillomas)—can either start in the trachea (windpipe) or spread there from somewhere else, such as the esophagus or lung. As these tumors grow, they narrow the windpipe, making it harder for air to get to the lungs.

Treatments we offer:

  • Advanced bronchoscopy/rigid bronchoscopy with ablation and tumor resection
  • Trachial resection
  • Laryngotracheal resection

Diaphragm paralysis is uncommon but can be caused trauma/accident, injury from surgery or other nerve disorders. The most common symptom is shortness of breath while walking, lying flat or sitting in chest-level water.

Treatments we offer:

  • Daphragmatic pacemaker
  • Minimally invasive diaphragm plication (tightening of the diaphragm muscle with sutures)

Often referred to as “water in the lungs,” pleural effusion happens when fluid builds up in the pleura, the thin membranes outside the lungs and chest cavity that help with breathing. Common causes can include pneumonia, heart failure and sometimes various cancers.

Treatments we offer:

  • Drainage procedures
  • Indwelling catheters—drainage tubes you can use at home to drain the fluid
  • Minimally invasive pleurodesis—sealing of the chest cavity to prevent fluid build-up

Mesothelioma is a rare disease of the lining of the lung. It is an aggressive cancer that requires treatment at specialized centers and therapy includes chemotherapy, immunotherapy, surgery and radiation treatments.

Treatments we offer:

  • Extrapleural pneumonectomy
  • Hyperthermic intrathoracic chemotherapy
  • Pleurectomy

We know patients suffering from painful pancreatitis want relief – but also to keep making These tumors grow in the chest wall—around the rib cage and the breast bone (sternum), the structure that surrounds and protects the heart, lungs, and liver, and can be cancerous or noncancerous. Removal of these tumors requires that the ribs and bones be rebuilt with specialized prosthesis.

Treatments we offer:

  • Complex Resection and reconstruction

Know What to Expect

Dealing with a thoracic or foregut condition can feel overwhelming. That’s why we strive to make every step of your care as simple as possible, from your very first appointment to your post-surgical care.

Someone from our Call Center will reach out to you soon after your doctor refers you. And we’ll work behind-the-scenes with your doctors to collect your records, including any scans and biopsy reports.

And since prompt care is our priority, you’ll meet with our experienced team of surgeons and providers in less than a week so we can answer your questions and set the next steps in your treatment into motion.

Make a Referral

To refer a patient to us, please contact our Call Center at (804) 828-2775 or fax the patient’s records to (804) 628-0537. We’ll get back to you promptly—and care for your patient with all the expertise and compassion they need to feel respected, supported and whole.