At Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, the General Thoracic Surgery program provides diagnosis and treatment for the entire spectrum of diseases affecting the chest. These include pulmonary, mediastinal, pleural and chest wall diseases, and can be linked to other diseases, such as cancers or infections.
For diagnosis and treatment, the thoracic surgery team applies the latest techniques and technologies. The aim is to perform surgery using minimally invasive techniques as much as possible, to reduce surgical trauma, and to improve the patient’s recovery period.
The General Thoracic Surgery program treats a wide range of thoracic diseases including; tumors, diseases affecting the thyroid glands or lymph nodes, sweat glands, as well as deformities of the chest wall.
Depending on the disease, treatments include interventions within (mediastinum), around the lungs, on the chest wall, and around the trachea – the part of the lower respiratory tract that brings air into the lungs.
In some cases, thoracic surgery is required to treat specific aspects of other diseases, such as certain forms of cancer.
Diagnosis & Treatment
Thoracic surgery includes a range of diseases and procedures involving the chest cavity, and diagnosis and treatment will be highly specific to individual patients. Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi provides the entire continuum of care for patients undergoing any kind of thoracic surgery for the following conditions:
Mediastinal and Tumor Diseases
These are diseases that develop in the center of the thoracic cavity, usually detected by CT scan or MRI examination. Some patients require a guided biopsy before treatment including the following conditions:
- Thymoma / teratoma/ lymphoma
- Thyroid goiter
- Congenital cyst & tumors
- Lymph node disorders, such as tuberculosis and sarcoidosis
Treatments include minimally invasive surgery and video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS), as well as video mediastinoscopy and endobronchial ultra sound (EBUS).
These are diseases causing an accumulation of air or fluid inside the chest.
Pleural effusion is the presence of fluid inside the chest cavity, often caused by another disease, such as cancer or an infection. It needs early diagnosis and treatment through thoracoscopy.
Pneumothorax is the presence of air inside the chest cavity due to rupture of blebs (small air sacs that form in the lung tissue). When recurrent, the treatment is VATS surgery.
Hyperhydrosis is a condition in which a person sweats excessively, often affecting the hands and underarms. Thoracic surgeons can treat this by performing a VATS sympathectomy. This is a minimally invasive procedure to remove or clip a small part of the sympathetic nerve causing the sweating.
Interstitial Lung Diseases
This is a large group of lung diseases characterized by progressive scarring of the insterstitium – the tissue and space around the air sacs of the lungs.
- Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis
- Interstitial pneumonias
- Pulmonary vasculitis
Minimally invasive surgical options, such as VATS and endobronchial biopsies, are the best tools for diagnosis, and to start the specific treatment for individual diseases.
Chest Wall Diseases
These include several congenital and acquired diseases.
Pectus excavatum is the most frequent congenital deformity, in which the breastbone and adjacent ribs protrude into the chest. The best treatment when applicable is the VATS Nuss procedure, in which bars are inserted into the chest to elevate the inward protrusion of the sternum. These bars will remain for one to two years and will be then removed. The results of this surgical treatment are immediately felt by the patient. Open techniques such as the Ravitch procedure are also available at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.
Pectus carinatum is a deformity of the chest characterized by an outward protrusion of the sternum and ribs. Open surgery is required to reconstruct the thorax and satisfy the aesthetic needs of the patient.
Thoracic surgery also includes procedures to remove chest wall tumors, using procedures such as biopsies and resections.
Other Thoracic Diseases
- Tracheal stenosis, which is a narrowing of the windpipe and can be a result of other medical treatments; treated by stenting and surgery
- Diaphragmatic disorders such as hernia, paralysis, and tumors
- Some forms of tuberculosis can also require surgical management
A multidisciplinary team of physicians, including thoracic surgeons, pulmonologists, endoscopists, anesthesiologists and ICU physicians provide collaborative care for each patient. Nurses and respiratory therapists support the physicians to ensure the patient is kept comfortable and following prescribed treatments at all times.
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