If you have a medical condition that affects the lungs, heart, esophagus or any other organ in the chest, you might receive initial treatment from your general physician. A doctor, gastroenterologist or thoracic surgeon can treat conditions such as chronic acid reflux or stomach ulcers.
Normally, when the condition reaches the point of needing a thoracic surgeon, surgical treatment is the only option available. Thoracic surgeons use surgical procedures to prevent and repair damage caused by certain medical conditions, including lung cancer, esophageal hernia or malignant lung disease. (Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers and leading causes of cancer death in the United States.)
To determine whether you need a thoracic surgeon, your doctor will perform tests, such as blood work and imaging scans, to spot the issue. Although some people only see the thoracic surgeon a few times after treatment, some have to see them throughout their life for long-term treatment and monitoring.
Thoracic surgeons also monitor injuries to organs in the chest.