Our thoracic surgeons perform operations on diseases and conditions related to the esophagus, heart, lungs, and other organs of the chest. Often these diseases are specifically related to cancer. Our surgeons use state of the art technologies such as robotics and advanced procedures to perform minimally invasive surgery on patients.
The esophagus is the muscular tube of swallowing that connects the throat to the stomach. It passes through the neck and chest until it meets the stomach in the abdomen. Like all cancers, esophageal cancer develops as a result of uncontrolled cell division leading to uninterrupted growth. Cancerous cells begin their growth microscopically, but as they continue to multiply, turn into masses called tumors. These tumors may remain local in the tissue in which they originated or in more advanced cases, invade into surrounding structures or spread throughout the body, known as metastasizing. A cell with the ability to invade or spread is considered malignant or “cancerous”.
Esophageal cancer starts in the inner layer of the esophagus (mucosa) and then grows outward. As the tumor grows, patients develop difficulty swallowing (dysphagia) and eventually chest pain. Men are three times more likely to develop esophageal cancer than women and chronic acid exposure (gastoesophageal reflux disease) is believed to increase risk for its development. While gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is common, most patients with GERD do not develop esophageal cancer. Heavy alcohol and tobacco use is believed to increase the risk for developing esophageal cancer.
There were 18,170 new esophageal cancers diagnosed in the United States in 2014 with 15,450 deaths reported. Esophageal cancer makes up 1% of the cancers diagnosed in the United States. Treatment and survival continue to improve and while overall survival for esophageal cancer is poor, prognosis for early stage cancer is considerably higher.
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Hyperhidrosis is a condition of excessive sweating in the hands (palmar hyperhidrosis), armpits (axillary hyperhidrosis) or feet (plantar hyperhidrosis). This sweating is independent of exercise or heat. It is a benign condition but can have a serious impact on a patient’s quality of life. It occurs in up to 3% of the population. The exact cause of hyperhidrosis is unknown but there may be a genetic component with some families having many members with this condition. It is known that sweating is controlled by the sympathetic nervous system. This set of nerves helps regulate our body temperature by controlling the sweat glands. These nerves are not under a patient’s voluntary control. Hyperhidrosis is an inappropriate control of these glands that leads to excessive sweating.
The mediastinum is an anatomic description of the central portion of the chest. Mediastinal surgery represents any procedure performed within this area. The mediastinum is surrounded by the breastbone in front, the spine in back, and the lungs on each side (Figure). The types of surgery range from small procedures performed to diagnose disease processes as well as more significant operations necessary to remove larger tumors that grow in this region.
Information coming soon!