A thoracic surgeon corrects congenital abnormalities and treats injuries and diseases that affect a patient’s chest, reports Study.com. The physician conducts surgical procedures to remove tumors and repair trauma to blood vessels, lungs and diaphragm. Most general thoracic surgeons also treat diseases affecting the esophagus, says the Society of Thoracic Surgeons. Some surgeons specialize in particular regions, such as the heart, or in a given procedure, such as coronary artery bypass.
A thoracic surgeon evaluates a patient’s injury or condition to determine the best operative procedure to conduct and oversees the patient’s post-operative care, notes Study.com. Other roles include reviewing a patient’s medical history to assess the potential risks of an operation, coordinating with nurses to provide optimal patient care, consulting with specialists such as cardiologists and assessing patients. To diagnose a patient’s condition, the surgeon conducts procedures such as tissue biopsy, biochemical tests and electrocardiography, which involves measuring the heart’s electrical activity using electrodes.
To treat lung cancer, a thoracic surgeon removes part of the infected lung or may conduct a lung transplant, says the Society of Thoracic Surgeons. A general thoracic surgeon conducts a bronchoscopy, a procedure to analyze lung infections and drains air or fluid from the chest. The surgeon may perform a heart transplant depending on the patient’s medical needs.