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Open Thoracic Surgery

Traditionally, thoracic surgery has been performed through a thoracotomy, which is a surgical incision made between the ribs. The incision is approximately 10-15 cm and often results in the need to cut or spread the ribs to get adequate visualization. Typical procedures performed via this approach include removal of the lung or a portion of lung, esophagus, or chest wall tumors, and repairs of the esophagus, lung, or major blood vessels. This approach allows the surgeon to have direct access to all organs within that side of the chest cavity. The average hospital stay is 4-5 days, with a return to normal activities within 6-8 weeks.