Pronounced: THOR-uh-cot-uh-meeEn Español (Spanish Version)
A thoracotomy is a surgery to open the chest wall. The surgery allows access to the lungs, aorta, heart, diaphragm, and spine. Depending on the disease location, a thoracotomy may be done in the center or on the right or left side of the chest.
A thoracotomy may be done to:
- Confirm diagnosis of a lung or chest disease
- Repair the heart or the vessels of the lung and heart
- Treat windpipe disorders
- Remove a portion of the lung or the entire lung
- Reinflate lung tissue that has collapsed due to disease or trauma
- Remove pus from the chest
- Remove blood clots from the chest
- Remove tumors or lymph nodes
Last reviewedFebruary 2014by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.