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Conditions & Diseases

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Thoracic Surgeons provide diagnosis and surgical treatment of diseases that occur in the chest including the lungs, esophagus, trachea, chest wall and mediastinum (including the thymus):

Lung Cancer

Diagnosis, staging and treatment of non-small cell and small cell lung cancers, including:

Esophageal Cancer

Diagnosis, staging and treatment of cancer in the esophagus, which connects the mouth to the stomach. The two most common types of esophageal cancer are:

Tracheal Disease

Tumors in the trachea (windpipe) are rare but often malignant.

Paraesophageal and Hiatal Hernias

Hiatal hernias occur when parts of the stomach push through the diaphragm and into the chest, and are often seen in patients with GERD. Surgery is commonly used to repair hiatal hernias, especially large, paraesophageal hiatal hernias, which extend through the chest next to the esophagus. Surgical treatment of paraesophageal and hiatal hernias

GERD and Barrett's Disease

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a chronic condition in which the contents of the stomach backflow into the esophagus, causing heartburn and regurgitation. Overtime, changes in the esophagus can lead to Barrett's disease and in some cases, esophageal cancer (adenocarcinoma). Surgical treatment of GERD and Barrett's disease

Mediastinal Tumors

The mediastinum is the center part of the chest outside of the lungs, heart and large blood vessels. The mediastinum contains fatty and connective tissue, lymph nodes and the thymus, a small organ that is part of the immune system. Diseases in the mediastinum that may be treated with surgery include:

Pleural Diseases

Pleura are thin sheets of tissue (membranes) that line the inside of the chest cavity and outside of the lungs. This creates a potential space between the lung and chest wall where fluid can accumulate due to either benign or malignant cancers such as mesothelioma and metastatic disease.

Traumatic Rib Fractures

In cases of multiple rib fractures and flail chest, "plating" of the ribs in surgery can help to control pain, support respiratory function, and stabilize the chest wall for faster healing.


Hyperhidrosis is a condition that causes excessive sweating, usually in the hands, underarms and face, but without the usual triggers such as exercise or stress. In some cases, surgery can treat this condition.

Page reviewed on: Jun 26, 2015

Page reviewed by: Dr. David J. Finley

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