Minimally Invasive Thoracic Surgery Program

The Minimally Invasive Surgery Program in Mass General’s Division of Thoracic Surgery offers minimally invasive surgery for many thoracic conditions affecting the lung, thymus (mediastinum) and esophagus.
Request an Appointment

Call for more information: 617-726-6826


Massachusetts General Hospital's Division of Thoracic Surgery employs minimally invasive surgical techniques to treat a wide range of chest disorders.

Using high-definition imaging technology and precision instruments, surgeons work through tiny incisions to perform these procedures. In comparison with traditional (i.e., open) surgery, minimally invasive surgery generally involves:

  • Less blood loss, postoperative pain and scarring
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Quicker recovery and return to normal activities
Michael Lanuti, MD (right) with a meets with a patient to discuss surgical options and the next phase of her care.
Michael Lanuti, MD (right) with a meets with a patient to discuss surgical options and the next phase of her care.

As one of the world's foremost academic medical centers, Mass General is committed to developing new minimally invasive surgical techniques and integrating them into our care options, including video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) and robotic surgery. We offer a comprehensive approach to treating the diseases of the lungs, thymus (mediastinum) and esophagus, building upon a legacy of excellence in traditional surgery. Additionally, we employ the latest endoscopic and laparoscopic procedures for diseases of the airways and esophagus. 

Lung and Thymus (Mediastinal) Procedures

The Lung Cancer program at the Massachusetts General Hospital Division of Thoracic Surgery employs a variety of surgical approaches. The department has board-certified thoracic surgeons and they often work with physicians from other medical specialties to treat lung conditions.

We perform:

  • Video-assisted thorascopic surgery (VATS): tiny keyholes used to introduce a video-capable scope and instruments to perform surgery in the chest to treat cancer and benign conditions (such as pneumothorax, pleural effusions, paralyzed diaphragm, mediastinal masses and thymic disorders)
  • Endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS): a flexible scope with a build-in ultrasound sensor used to biopsy lymph nodes and masses in the middle of the chest allowing for diagnosis of lung and esophageal cancer without surgical incisions
  • Navigational broncoscopy: a computer-generated roadmap is used to virtually navigate the airways to biopsy lesions in the peripheral lung

Esophageal Procedures

We work collaboratively with surgeons in Massachusetts General Hospital’s Gastroesophageal Surgery Program, who specialize in complex surgical techniques to treat patients with esophageal cancer and benign esophageal disease.

We perform:

  • Minimally invasive esophagectomy (MIE): VATS and laparoscopy are utilized to remove the esophagus for esophageal cancer, avoiding large incisions that are generally required for esophagectomy
  • Laparoscopic surgery for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), hiatal and paraesophageal hernias and achalasia: tiny abdominal incisions and a video-capable scope are used with precision instruments to correct disorders of the outer (distal) esophagus and openings of the diaphragm
  • Transoral approaches to Zenker's diverticulum: treatment of diverticulum by stapling through the mouth, avoiding a traditional incision in the neck
  • Esophageal stenting: a self-expanding tube is placed in the esophagus to treat obstructing cancer and also to assist with healing of the esophagus when tears or perforations occur

Thoracic surgeons are supported by a team of anesthesiologists who are dedicated to the care of thoracic patients. After surgery, patients are followed closely to ensure the best long-term care.

Appointments & Referrals

To make an appointment or refer a patient, please contact the division at 617-726-6826.

Conditions & Diseases

  • Esophageal Cancer

    Esophageal cancer is cancer that develops in the esophagus, the muscular tube that connects the throat to the stomach.

  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) / Heartburn

    Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a digestive disorder that is caused by gastric acid flowing from the stomach into the esophagus.

  • Hiatal Hernia

    A hiatal hernia occurs when the upper part of the stomach pushes up into the chest through a small opening in the diaphragm, the muscle that separates the stomach from the chest.

  • Lung Cancer

    Lung cancer is cancer that usually starts in the lining of the bronchi (the main airways of the lungs), but can also begin in other areas of the respiratory system, including the trachea, bronchioles, or alveoli.

  • Pneumothorax

    Pneumothorax is a lung disorder in babies in which air in the lungs leaks out through holes in the lung tissue into the spaces outside the lung airways.



Contact Us

Division of Thoracic Surgery

Founders 755 Fruit Street Boston, MA 02114
  • Phone: 617-726-6826
Request an Appointment

Call for more information: 617-726-6826

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