Who Can Perform Lung Surgery?
A thoracic surgeon is a surgeon that has typically undergone five years of general surgery residency followed by specialty training in cardiothoracic. That’s typically an additional two or three year fellowship in addition to the five years. There are some hybrid programs that have been able to condense that training into six, but by and large, it’s seven to eight. With regard to lung surgery specifically, there are a number of surgeons who perform lung surgery. Cardiothoracic surgeons are probably the ones who perform it the most commonly, but surgical oncologists and general surgeons do perform lung resections as well. For anyone who is in need of lung surgery and looking for the correct surgeon, I think the most important thing to consider is how many lung surgeries has that surgeon done. Because regardless of training, I think experience is going to lead to the best quality and the best outcome. Surgeons who specialize in lung surgery are termed cardiothoracic surgeons. What that means with regard to training is that those surgeons have completed college, followed by medical school, followed by typically a general surgery residency, which is five years of training, and then an additional specialty training, which is typically two to three years and most commonly is a combination of heart and lung surgery training. There are other surgeons in our country who perform lung surgery and do it well. Surgical oncologists, general surgeons… I think anyone who has had a large volume of cases and enough experience is qualified to perform a lung cancer operation.