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General thoracic surgeons emerge as leading providers of complex, noncardiac thoracic surgery
Date:12/6/2012

use they perform many noncardiac thoracic surgeries and tend to set standards for medical practice.

The study showed that the vast majority -- 77.5 percent -- of complex noncardiac thoracic surgical procedures in academic settings were performed by general thoracic surgeons, compared with 9.9 percent by cardiac surgeons, 8.9 percent by general surgeons and 3.7 percent by surgical oncologists.

They also found that specific chest procedures were more likely to be performed by general thoracic surgeons:

  • General thoracic surgeons averaged 51.1 pulmonary resections (removal of part of the lung) per year, while cardiac surgeons averaged 9.4 per year.
  • General thoracic surgeons averaged 12.2 esophagectomies (removal of the esophagus) per year, and cardiac surgeons averaged less than one per year.
  • General thoracic surgeons averaged 16 lobectomies (removal of parts of the lung) per year using a minimally invasive procedure known as video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery, compared to approximately one per year for other surgical specialists.

The analysis showed no differences for pneumonectomies (removal of a lung) performed by general thoracic and cardiac surgeons, who both averaged 2.1 per year. General surgeons and surgical oncologists averaged no more than 1.6 cases per year for all procedure categories included in the study.

"It's clear that general thoracic surgeons in academic settings perform the lion's share of pulmonary resections and esophagectomies and nearly all of the minimally invasive procedures," said Cooke. "It's important to consider the current state of the field when defining specialties, along with policies for referrals, credentialing and training."


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Contact: Karen Finney
karen.finney@ucdmc.ucdavis.edu
916-734-9064
University of California - Davis Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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