St. Joseph's Hospital has been a trusted name in thoracic surgery procedures – those dealing with the chest, or thoracic cavity – for decades in the Central New York (CNY) community, treating patients with esophageal cancer, lung cancer or other lung conditions. Conducting around 30 esophagectomies per year, St. Joseph's was the first hospital in CNY to perform a minimally invasive (robotic assisted) Ivor Lewis esophagectomy procedure to treat esophageal cancer – cancer in the muscular tube through which food passes from the throat to the stomach. We have always been and will always be committed to offering the best care for our patients.  

As the thoracic area includes the tendons as well as the respiratory and cardiovascular systems, traditional thoracic surgery involves a cut between the ribs and a prolonged hospital stay. At St. Joseph’s, we offer minimally invasive thoracoscopic surgery, where only tiny incisions are made, creating less pain for patients, shorter hospital stays and decreased recovery time. 



The most common type of esophageal cancer, which develops in the glandular tissue in the lower part of the esophagus, near the opening of the stomach. It occurs in just over 50 percent of cases. 

Pericardial Effusion 

An abnormal collection of fluid inside the sac that covers the heart. 

Squamous Cell Carcinoma 

Esophageal cancer that grows in the cells that form the top layer of the lining of the esophagus, known as squamous cells. This type of cancer can grow anywhere along the esophagus.



A procedure in which a long, lighted scope is inserted into the lungs in order to examine the airways of the lungs and to assess lung function. 


The removal of a segment of the esophagus, the muscular tube through which food passes from the throat to the stomach.

  • Trans-Hiatal Esophagectomy (THE) - A combined abdominal and thoracic procedure the THE or Ivor Lewis Esophagectomy is a laparotomy (surgical incision made in the wall of the abdomen) and right thoracotomy (surgical incision of the chest) for resection of the intrathoracic esophagus (removal of the esophagus inside the thorax or chest). 

  • Trans-Thoracic Esophagectomy (TTE) - Another way to remove the esophagus involves making an incision between the ribs, entering through the chest (thorax).

Extrapleural Pneumonectomy 

Surgery to remove a diseased lung, part of the pericardium (membrane covering the heart), part of the diaphragm (muscle between the lungs and the abdomen), and part of the parietal pleura (membrane lining the chest). This type of surgery is used most often to treat malignant mesothelioma. 


A surgical procedure performed to remove one of the lobes of the lungs. The procedure may be performed when an abnormality has been detected in a specific part of the lung. When only the affected lobe of the lung is removed, the remaining healthy tissue is spared to maintain adequate lung function. 

Lung Biopsy 

A procedure in which samples of lung tissue are removed (with a special biopsy needle or during surgery) to determine if lung disease or cancer is present. 


A surgical procedure performed to examine the mediastinum - the space behind the sternum (breastbone) in the middle of the chest that separates the two lungs. 

Pleural Biopsy 

A procedure in which a sample of the pleura (the membrane that surrounds the lungs) is removed with a special biopsy needle or during surgery to determine if disease, infection, or cancer is present. 


The removal of an entire lung when an abnormality or disease is detected throughout the entire lung. 


A procedure in which a needle is inserted through the back of the chest wall into the pleural space (a space that exists between the two lungs and the interior chest wall) to remove fluid or air. 


A surgical incision of the chest. 


David Wormuth, MD 
Nicholas Yerkes, MD 
Zhandong Zhou, MD 


Society for Thoracic Surgeons 
American Board of Medical Specialties