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Thoracic Procedures at UPMC in Central Pa.

UPMC in Central Pa.’s expert surgeons perform a full array of advanced procedures, from traditional thoracotomies to minimally invasive and robotic assisted surgeries.
UPMC in Central Pa. has the experience and facilities to provide expert care for patients who require lung (thoracic) surgery. Our skilled thoracic surgeons excel at performing highly complex lung surgeries, most of which can be done with a minimally-invasive approach, reducing the risk of blood loss, infection and other complications and also facilitating a faster recovery. Complex procedures may be done in our state-of-the-art Hybrid Surgical Suite and may be performed utilizing the sophisticated da Vinci Surgical System robot.

About Our Most Common Thoracic Procedures

Video-Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery (VATS)

Certain lung procedures may be performed using Video-Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery (VATS) – a minimally invasive technique that offers several benefits, including shortened recovery time. Surgeons use VATS to perform procedures through small incisions using a video camera and special surgical tools, offering patients the advantages of easier recovery and less risk of complications than with a single, large incision in the chest.

Robot-Assisted Thoracic Surgery

da Vinci® Robotic-Assisted Thoracic Surgery-- state-of-the-art robotic technology that provides enhanced 3-D viewing of the surgical site for increased accuracy and allows the surgeon’s hand movements to be scaled, filtered and translated into fine actions of micro-instruments for surgical biopsy and treatment of pulmonary nodules and other surgical conditions in a precise fashion.


Bronchoscopy is a procedure that allows your physician to use viewing scope to evaluate the health of your lung and airway and sometimes to obtain samples of the lung tissue for biopsy. Bronchoscopy is also used for treatments, such as the placement of a stent to open a collapsed airway due to pressure from a tumor or the removal of a mass or growth that is blocking an airway.

Navigational Bronchoscopy

SuperDimension Electromagnetic Navigation Bronchoscopy—a highly advanced procedure that utilizes GPS-like navigation to provide precise access to lesions deep in the lungs beyond the reach of conventional bronchoscopy as well as to mediastinal lymph nodes for diagnosis and staging. Additionally it can be used to place markers for more exact surgical borders and precision placement of Stereotactic radiosurgery.

Endobronchial Ultrasound (EBUS)

A sophisticated approach to sampling lymph nodes and lung nodules deep in the chest near the main airway that offers guided access to areas not obtainable with mediastinoscopy.

Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS)

This procedure allows the doctor to obtain images and information about the chest, digestive tract and the surrounding tissue and organs. The ultrasound probe allows the doctor to biopsy structures visualized under ultrasound guidance for testing. EUS may be used to evaluate stages of cancer or evaluate masses in the chest.


Mediastinoscopy is a surgical procedure that enables a physician to view the middle of a patient’s chest cavity and to perform minor surgery through very small incisions. It can be used to remove lymph nodes from between the lungs so they can be tested for the presence of cancer or an infection. This procedure is also useful for examining the outside surface of the large tubes of the airways (such as the trachea) or for evaluating tumors or masses in located in the middle chest.


Segmentectomy is a newer approach to effectively removing the segment of lung that contains the cancer while preserving as much of the healthy surrounding lung tissue as possible. This surgery can be effective at providing a cure from lung cancer.


If a tumor is found in one of your lungs (also called a lobe), a lobectomy may be performed to remove the tumor and improve your health. This procedure usually provides a cure.


Bilobectomy, the surgical removal of two lobes of the right lung, may offer the highest odds of cure for some lung cancer patients. This procedure can remove the cancer and relieve some or all of the uncomfortable, painful lung cancer symptoms a patient may be experiencing.


Pneumonectomy is the surgical removal of an entire lung on the side of the chest that contains a cancerous tumor. For some patients, pneumonectomy offers the best chance for a cure.


A thoracotomy is a surgical procedure to open the chest wall, facilitating access to the lungs, throat, aorta, heart and diaphragm.

A thoracotomy can be used to:

  • Confirm diagnosis of a lung or chest disease
  • Repair the heart or the vessels of the lung and heart
  • Treat trachea (wind-pipe) disorders
  • Remove a portion of the lung or the entire lung
  • Treat esophagus (throat) disorders
  • Re-inflate lung tissue that has collapsed due to disease or trauma
  • Remove pus from the chest
  • Remove blood clots from the chest


Decortication involves removing part of or the entire outer surface layer of the lung in cases where it has become covered by a thick, inelastic lining (caused by illness or infection) that interferes with its ability to expand and contract. The goal of the surgery is to re-expand the lungs and improve your lung function.

Tube Thoracostomy

The tube thoracostomy (chest tube) is used when patients develop a collapsed lung. It is a hollow plastic tube that is surgically inserted into the space around the lung and connected to a bedside drainage container.

A tube thoracostomy is used:

  • To relieve a large fluid collection from around the lung
  • To re-expand the lung
  • To address a serious infection that develops around the collapsed lung

Pericardial Window

Pericardial Window is the name given to a surgical procedure that drains fluid that has accumulated around the heart.


A tracheostomy is a surgically created opening in the neck leading directly to the trachea (the breathing tube), which is held open with a hollow tube called a tracheostomy tube.

A tracheostomy is usually done for one of three reasons:

  • To bypass an obstructed upper airway
  • To clean and remove secretions from the airway
  • To more easily and more safely deliver oxygen to the lung



UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute
Located at Medical Office Building 2
2005 Technology Parkway
Suite 300
Mechanicsburg, PA 17050

Main Number: 717-988-5864
Fax: 717-231-8568

UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute
214 Peach Orchard Road
McConnellsburg, PA 17233

Phone: 717-231-8555
Phone 2: 717-485-3155

UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute
233 College Avenue

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