The Department of Thoracic Surgery addresses all the areas of thoracic surgery and operates mainly in the clinical-scientific field of primary tumors and lung metastases. The surgical team performs over 1200 operations and sees over 4500 patients annually. The unit adopts innovative surgical techniques and modern guidelines in both diagnostic and treatment procedures and is in close collaboration with the Operating Unit of Medical Oncology and Radiotherapy.

Specifically, the Department of Thoracic Surgery is responsible for:

  • Surgical treatment of both benign and malignant mediastinal tumors, whenever possible, with a minimally invasive approach. Thymectomy for Myasthenia Gravis is performed through a videothoracoscopic approach.
  • Videothoracoscopy and minimally invasive procedures for all diagnostic needs in thoracic oncology and treatment of all benign tumors of the lungs, mediastinum and esophagus. Pulmonary lobectomy for primitive malignant or benign tumors.
  • Videothoracoscopy for thoracic sympathectomy, palmar hyperhidrosis and Raynaud’s syndrome.
  • Videothoracoscopy for spontaneous pneumothorax, which is often associated with a partial pleurectomy to minimize the risk of recurrence.
  • The treatment of advanced stage lung cancer (N2) after induction of chemotherapy and radiotherapy (Humanitas is among the top ten Italian specialized centers).
  • The treatment of lung cancer (T4) extended to the large vessels, the trachea, the chest wall and spine, with modern reconstruction techniques. The Operating Unit is first at the national level and among the first at the international level for spinal tumor surgical treatment.
  • Thoracic endoscopy with the use of a rigid endoscope for unblocking obstructed airway of the bronchial tubes or trachea; Bronchoscopy for the removal of foreign bodies from the airway.
  • Esophageal surgery combined with Cervical Laparoscopy and Thoracotomy. In particular, it is used for minimally invasive anterior thoracotomy “muscle-sparing”, which guarantees a faster functional recovery.
  • Corrective surgery of chest wall deformities with a traditional approach.  In selected cases, a minimally invasive technique can be used for correction.
  • The surgical treatment of lung metastases with the use of the most modern techniques (laser) for complete removal whenever possible.

One of the novel approaches adopted by the Humanitas Thoracic team is robotically-assisted surgery, which allows the specialists to operate with ever higher precision. From the early days of the invention of the Da Vinci surgical system, the team has explored and described this approach for lung and mediastinal surgery and has helped to ensure its diffusion in Italy and Europe.

The Department of Thoracic Surgery is equipped with regular ward rooms, rooms for patients undergoing semi-intensive postoperative treatment, as well as rooms for Day Hospital diagnostic admissions. The team is also present in the outpatient setting, for fibro-bronchoscopy and other diagnostic procedures.

Collaboration with the Department of Rehabilitation ensures patients achieve postoperative recovery in a suitable environment.

In terms of research, the Department focuses on the areas of molecular biology and the early detection of lung cancer. In collaboration with the National Cancer Institute (NCI-USA), the team has conducted a study on the Genetic Epidemiology of Lung Cancer (GELCS). Other molecular biology studies are underway with the Department of Experimental Oncology of Cancer at the Institute of Milan. Additionally, the Department has recently recruited 2400 former and current smokers for a randomized study on screening for lung cancer, developed by prof. Ravasi (DANTE project).