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Thoracic Surgery

Kelowna | Surrey | Vancouver | Victoria

Below are listed varoius thoracic related diseases and conditions with links to other helpful sources of information. Please note that these resources are not meant for diagnosing, but for general information for patients and those interested in learning about these diseases and conditions.


Navigation: Lung Cancer, Esophageal Cancer, Hiatal Hernia, GERD, Chest Wall TumoursChronic Bronchitis, COPD, Emphysema, Empyema, Hyperhidrosis, Infectious Lung Disease, Mediastinal Tumours, Mesothelioma, Myasthenia Gravis, Pneumothorax, Pulmonary Transplantation, Sarcoidosis, Thoracic Outlet Syndrome.

Thoracic Related Diseases and Conditions //

Lung Cancer


Lung cancer is a malignant tumour that starts in the cells of the lung. Malignant means that it can spread, or metastasize, to other parts of the body. When cancer starts in lung cells, it is called primary lung cancer.


- Click here to learn more about Lung Cancer. (Canadian Cancer Society)


- Click here to learn more about Lung Cancer. (BC Cancer Agency)


- Click here to learn about the major types of Lung Cancer. (Lung Association)

Esophageal Cancer


Esophageal cancer is cancer that occurs in the esophagus — a long, hollow tube that runs from your throat to your stomach. Your esophagus carries food you swallow to your stomach to be digested.


- Click here to learn more about Esophageal Cancer. (Canadian Cancer Society)


- Click here to learn more about Esophageal Cancer. (BC Cancer Agency)

Hiatal Hernia and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)


- Click here to learn about Hiatal Hernias. (Mayo Clinic)


- Click here to learn about GERD. (Mayo Clinic)

Chest Wall Tumours


We see both primary tumours arising in the chest wall as well as tumours that are secondary, having ariosn from a distant tumour site. Each situation requires individual assessment.


We are often able to remove chest wall tumours widely, and if needed, our Plastic Surgical colleagues are able to fashoin muscle and skin rotation flaps to close any defect left by primary removal.


On occasions, we will remove ribs and/or chest wall in operating to remove certain lung cancers.

Mediastinal Tumours


Mediastinal tumors are benign or cancerous growths that form in the area of the chest that separates the lungs. This area, called the mediastinum, is surrounded by the breastbone in front, the spine in back, and the lungs on each side. The mediastinum contains the heart, aorta, esophagus, thymus, and trachea.


- Click here to learn more about Mediastinal Tumours. (Cleveland Clinic)


- Click here to learn more about the Thymus. (BC Cancer Agency)



Mesothelioma can occur in the chest, abdomen, and sometimes the heart. It occurs in the mesothelium, a thin membrane that surrounds the inner organs in the body.


- Click here to learn more about Mesothelioma. (BC Cancer Agency)

Pulmonary Transplantation


Visit the BC Transplant website for information regarding eligibility and applying for a lung transplant.




Sarcoidosis is a disease that causes swelling in the cells in different organs of your body. It usually affects your lungs. It can also affect other organs, like your skin, eyes, lymph nodes, and brain.


With sarcoidosis, some of your blood cells bunch together to form tiny lumps called granulomas. The granulomas can form in different parts of your body. If they build up in your lungs they can stop them from working properly.


- Click here for more information on Sarcoidosis. (Cleveland Clinic)


Thoracic Oulet Syndrome


Thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) is a condition whereby symptoms are produced (such as numbness in fingers, pain in shoulder, arm, and neck) by compression of nerves and/or blood vessels in the upper chest.


- Click here for more information on Sarcoidosis. (Cleveland Clinic)


Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)


COPD is a lung disease that includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

- Click here to learn more about COPD. (Lung Assoc.)


- Click here to learn more about Emphysema

  (Cleveland Clinic)

- Click here to learn more about Bronchitis. (Lung Assoc.)



An empyema is a collection of pus within a natural body cavity, most commonly the pleural space surrounding the lungs. It is usually caused by a bacterial infection of the lungs (pneumonia).



Typical symptoms are: fever, chest pain, cough, sweating, and shortness of breath.


There is a dull percussion note and reduced breath sounds on the affected side of the chest. Chest x-ray shows a pleural effusion, often with a lateral bulge and apleural thickening. Ultrasound confirms the size and location of the pocket of pus and the presence of fibrin aggregates.



Diagnosis is confirmed by thoracentesis. Frank pus may be aspirated from the pleural space. The pleural fluid has a low pH, high white cell count, high protein, and low glucose content.



A chest tube is inserted to drain the pus from the pleural space. Intravenous antibiotics are given. If this is insufficient, surgical treatment with decortication of the pleura may be required.

Infectious Lung Diseases




Lung Abscesses







Hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating, is a relatively rare, non-life-threatening medical condition that occurs in the hand,s feet, or armpits.


- Click here to learn more about Hyperhidrosis.

  (Cleveland Clinic)

Myasthenia Gravis


Myasthenia Gravis is a chronic autoimmune neuromuscular disease characterized by varying degrees of weakness of the skeletal (voluntary) muscles of the body.


- Click here to learn moer about Myasthenia Gravis.

  (Cleveland Clinic)



Pneuomothorax means 'air in the chest'. Air usually leaks from a lung into the pleural space when the surface of the lung tears. We see this in two basically different circumstances:


1) Pneumothorax occurring in the context of Emphysema (see COPD & Emphysema above). Patients tend to be older, and they always have degrees of underlying lung changes that we see in emphysema. Chest tube insertion is common and the treatment for pneumothorax depends on the stage and type of emphysema present.


2) Spontaneous pneumothorax; usually occurring unexpectedly in young people, often tall, and more common in men than women. A small blister or bleb at the top of the lung tears, causing pain in the chest and shortness of breath. A chest tube is sometimes needed to withdraw the air. First time spontaneous pneumothoraces can often be treated conservatively without surgery. Generally, however, when a patient presents with a history of two episodes of pneumothorax, surgery by video means is recommended. Patients heal without any long term adverse outcomes.



hiatal hernia
chest wall tumour
infectious lung disease
Mediastinal Tumours
thoraic outlet syndrome
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