Lung Cancer

In the US, lung cancer kills more people than breast cancer, colon cancer, and prostate combined. For the last few decades, survival for other cancer has significantly improved, and in just the last few years, screening and new treatments have finally started to improve survival for lung cancer. The treatment is determined by the type and stage of lung cancer.

Malignant Esophageal Disease

The esophagus links the mouth to the stomach, forming an important part of the body’s digestive system. The rate of esophageal cancer continues to increase in Western countries due to the epidemic gastro-esophageal reflux disease. Approximately 17,000 new cases will be diagnosed in the United States in 2011, a figure that has been increasing year after year.

Benign Esophageal Disease

Members of the Esophageal team at St John’s Health Center combine highly-developed diagnostic skills with state-of-the-art imaging and functional testing to diagnose diseases of the esophagus. Our multi-disciplinary team offers an integrated, comprehensive approach and minimally invasive surgery to teeat esophageal problems.

Minimally Invasive Thoracic Surgery

The Division of Thoracic Surgery is committed to excellence in patient care, teaching, research and community service.    Services provided by St John’s Division of General Thoracic Surgery encompass all aspects of chest diseases.  Our surgeons are well recognized leaders in Thoracic Surgery nationally and internationally.    Our patients come from all over the world…

Robotic Thoracic Surgery

What is Robotic Thoracic Surgery? It is a robot-assisted minimally invasive surgery, that allows for greater surgical precision, enhanced visualization and increased range of motion. The robot acts as a miniaturized extension of the surgeon’s arms and hands, which allow the surgeon to perform complex surgical procedures through small incisions, insteadof using previously required large…

Emphysema / Lung Volume Reduction Surgery

Emphysema is a progressive disease that in some cases will significantly compromise the quality of life for people with severe emphysema. Inhalers may help only about 10% of people with severe emphysema. Because medical management has provided only minimal impact on the disease, a variety of surgical procedures have been tried. Our surgeons helped to develop surgical treatments for emphysema and have written over 100 journal articles about that topic.

Myasthenia Gravis

Myasthenia gravis is a chronic autoimmune neuromuscular disease characterized by varying degrees of weakness of the skeletal (voluntary) muscles of the body. The name myasthenia gravis, which is Latin and Greek in origin, literally means “grave muscle weakness.” With current therapies, however, most cases of myasthenia gravis are not as “grave” as the name implies. In fact, most individuals with myasthenia gravis have a normal life expectancy.


The mediastinum is surrounded by the middle part of the chest, defined by the breastbone in front, the spine in back, and the lungs on each side. The mediastinum contains the heart, aorta, esophagus, thymus and trachea. It is divided into 3 parts, the anterior (front), middle, and posterior section (back):

Chest Wall

The chest wall, also known as the thoracic wall, protects the heart, liver, lungs and other important structures in the body. The chest wall is made up of the ribs, the sternum and cartilage.

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

Between the rib cage and the collarbone (clavicle) is a space where the main blood vessels and nerves pass from the neck and the chest into the arm. This space is called the thoracic outlet. From this outlet, the nerves and blood vessels leave the neck between two muscles (scalene muscles).


Treatment for shortness of breath due to a blocked windpipe (trachea or bronchus)If a patient is short of breath, Providence St Johns has several options to open the windpipe to improve the breathing. Laser: If the blockage is inside the windpipe, a laser beam can vaporize the tumor to open the windpipe. Photodynamic therapy (PDT),…


The diaphragm is a muscle that separates the chest and abdominal cavities; it is controlled by the phrenic nerves. Diaphragmatic paralysis is uncommon. Each diaphragm provides 15 to 30% of the lung function. In patients where one side of the diaphragm is paralyzed, people usually have no symptoms unless they have another reason for shortness of breath (asthma, emphysema, etc.). Because a paralyzed diaphragm is higher than usual, it compresses the lung and prevents the patient from taking a normal breath.

Other Lung Diseases

Additionally, our program performs operations for the following lung conditions: Collapsed lung (bronchiectasis) Spontaneous Pneumothorax Tuberculosis