thoracic surgery

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not much talk about this specialty. it seems the cardio part of cardiothoracic surgery generates more interest. it requires going thru a ct fellowship but apparently there are some fellowships out there with a pure thoracics pathway. anybody can share some insights about general thoracics? the pros/cons vs. cardiac surgery?

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May 1, 2001
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Thoracic is great and I'd highly consider it. Pros: diversity, great mix of lap/thoracoscopic vs open, benign and cancer cases, small and large, both sides of the diaphragm, lots of scopes, opportunity to develop a niche like endobronchial U/S or esophageal function, lots of room to be a minimally-invasive innovator (robotic esophagectomies, thoracoscopic lobectomies, esophageal and endobronchial stenting, etc). I don't know how the job market is specifically but I can't imagine that it's worse than cardiac. Cons: really sick ass pts (the morbidity of some of these operations is astounding), lifestyle isn't very good (at least at my shop), the frustration of treating smoking-related illness in pts who may be unable to quit even after the blow of being diagnosed with cancer and having surgery for it, the possibility of nonsurgical therapies cutting in on or replacing surgery for management of traditional surgical diseases (ie GERD has an endoscopic plicator on the horizon, chemo-XRT for stage IIIA NSCLC, etc.), endless nuisance consults for putting in/taking out/managing chest tubes. Overall though I think the pros outweigh the cons and if this is a viable field when I'm done I would think about it.
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