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This is the surgical speciality that involves the bony thorax, consisting of ribs and sternum, as well as the pleural cavity, consisting of the pleura, lungs and pericardium. It also deals with surgical diseases of the mediastinum such as the thymus gland. A large proportion of thoracic surgery is involved in the diagnosis and treatment of cancers such as lung cancer and mesothelioma. Surgery on the heart and aorta are carried out by cardiac surgery.

The majority of operations are carried out using minimally invasive techniques (keyhole surgery) such as VATS (video assisted thorascopic surgery) and RATS (robotic surgery). Most of the work is elective (planned surgery) however urgent and emergency work is carried out including surgery for patients who have sustained chest trauma.

All the information about coming into hospital for a thoracic operation can be found in these pages. This information has been written by the staff of the cardiothoracic unit to give you information about coming into hospital for your lung operation.

We hope you will find this information helpful before you come into hospital and after you go home. The doctors and nurses will explain your operation and care in more detail. If you would like more information or have questions, please ask a member of staff caring for you.