Thoracic surgeons work collaboratively with pulmonologists in The Jacqueline Maritz Lung Center to provide medical and surgical services for diseases of the lung, trachea, esophagus, chest wall and mediastinum. The dedicated team works together to smoothly transition patients through our state-of-the-art diagnostic facilities, and intensive care and thoracic surgical units.
Common surgical procedures performed include:
- bronchoscopy (use of a fiberoptic scope to examine the airway);
- comprehensive pulmonary rehabilitation; mediastinoscopy (use of a rigid scope to examine lymph nodes for biopsy);
- pulmonary function tests to assess how well the lungs are working;
- laser-guided bronchoscopy to both detect and treat early-stage cancers;
- endobronchial ultrasound.
Specialized surgical procedures include:
- minimally-invasive techniques for lung resection;
- chest wall resection to remove cancerous or damaged portions of the chest wall;
- mediastinal surgery to remove tumors of the central chest beneath the breast bone;
- pulmonary resections to remove lung tissue involved in benign and malignant tumors;
- tracheal resection to remove a portion of a cancerous or scarred trachea and videoscopic (thorascopic) thoracic surgery;
- transcervical thymectomy to remove the thymus gland in patients with myasthenia gravis.
National Leaders in Patient Care
Barnes-Jewish and Washington University thoracic surgeons operate one of the largest lung transplant centers in the world. Since 1988, more than 1,000 lung transplants have been performed, giving our team unique leadership and expertise. Innovative surgical techniques and medical treatments continue to be developed and perfected by our thoracic surgeons, including the bilateral sequential lung transplant, a technique that significantly boosts the use of lung transplants to treat cystic fibrosis.
Lung Volume Reduction
Another innovation pioneered by the Barnes-Jewish and Washington University thoracic surgery team is the lung-volume reduction surgery
. This procedure is designed to help emphysema patients breathe more easily. Approximately 400 patients have undergone this procedure since the program was started in 1993, making this one of the most active lung volume reduction surgery programs in the country—and one of the few programs certified as a center of excellence by the Joint Commission.
Pulmonologists and thoracic surgeons see 500 lung cancer patients annually at the Siteman Cancer Center, the highest quality center of its type within 240 miles of St. Louis. Surgeons work together with medical oncologists, radiologists, radiation therapists and others to perform complex resections, video-assisted lobectomies, sleeve lobectomies and other advanced procedures. All our surgeons have broad expertise in lung-sparing surgery for lung cancer.
In 1999, The Lung Center at Washington University School of Medicine became one of only approximately two dozen facilities throughout the United States to offer photodynamic therapy (PDT) for the treatment of selected pulmonary and esophageal cancers. In Missouri, The Lung Center is the sole provider of PDT to treat selected pulmonary tumors and one of only two centers to treat selected esophageal tumors with PDT. In PDT, intravenous medication is administered, then followed two days later by non-thermal laser light therapy. PDT selectively kills tissue without the side effects of chemotherapy or radiation.