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, throat, aorta, heart, and diaphragm. Depending on the disease location, a thoracotomy may be done on the right or left side of the chest. Sometimes, a small thoracotomy can be done in the front part 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
- Treat throat disorders
- Reinflate lung tissue that has collapsed due to disease or trauma
- Remove pus from the chest
- Remove blood clots from the chest
Last reviewedMay 2013by Marcin Chwistek, MD; 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.