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SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University

Centers of Excellence - Cancer Institute

Thoracic Oncology Center of Excellence

Thoracic Oncology Center of Excellence provides expertise in treating cancers involving lungs and airway, diaphragm, great vessels, esophagus and chest wall.

Our thoracic surgeons perform state of the art minimally invasive and robotic procedures, and have completed a series of extensive training programs in general surgery, cardiovascular surgery, and thoracic surgery. Thoracotomy is a surgical procedure performed to open the chest cavity. It is a six- to 10-inch incision made into the chest that allows surgeons  to access the throat, lungs, heart and diaphragm.  A thoracotomy incision can be made: Between the ribs on the front or side of the chest (limited anterior or lateral thoracotomy) Down the front of the chest, through the breastbone (sternal splitting thoracotomy) across the side and around the back of the chest (posterolateral thoracotomy).

A thoracotomy may be part of a patient's surgical treatment if he or she has been diagnosed with diseases, disorders or conditions such as:

  • Heart disease
  • Lung cancer or some other types of cancer
  • Permanently collapsed lung tissue (atelectasis)
  • Diseased or damaged lung tissue
  • Diseased or damaged blood vessels in the heart or lung
  • Blood in the lungs (hemothorax)
  • Infection in the chest cavity (empyema)
  • Diaphragm disorders
  • Esophageal or trachea (windpipe) conditions

Depending on the type of disease or disorder a patient has been diagnosed with, a surgeon will perform a thoracotomy followed by another surgical procedure, such as a:

  • Lobectomy (removal of one or more lobes of the lungs)
  • Esophagectomy (removal of all or part of the esophagus)
  • Wedge resection (removal of part of a lung lobe)
  • Pneumonectomy (removal of an entire lung)
  • Decortication (removal of an organ's membrane or covering)
  • Open heart surgery
  • Heart or lung transplant
  • Tumor removal
  • Tissue biopsy

A thoracotomy and the surgical procedure that follows it can take several hours. Because a thoracotomy is a major, open surgery, patients need to stay in the hospital for about a week.  When possible, our surgeons perform video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) instead of a thoracotomy. The minimally invasive procedure allows us to diagnose and treat some of the same diseases and disorders as a thoracotomy, but with potentially less post-operative pain, fewer complications and a shorter hospital stay.

SUNY Downstate Medical Center provided seminal contributions to the early development of cardiac surgery. The first case of cardiac surgery using cardiopulmonary bypass in New York State, and the second case in the world was performed by Dr. Clarence Dennis in 1955 in this center.

We offer same day appointments to patients and specialize in Minimally-Invasive Surgery, besides offering other diverse cardiothoracic surgical services with an emphasis on multi-disciplinary approach to care.

Services Offered

Minimally Invasive Surgery

Cardiac and thoracic minimally invasive surgery techniques provides state of the art care for patients with cardiac and chest diseases. These techniques include minimally invasive cardiac surgery (MICS), video assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS), minimally invasive esophagectomy (MIE), hybrid surgery procedures and robotic assisted surgical procedures.

Minimally invasive surgery uses all our technology and surgical skills to create the smallest incisions possible without compromising outcomes or results as an open approach.

Specialized Cardiothoracic specialized services:

  • Traditional Coronary Artery Bypass Graft
  • Off-pump Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery
  • Heart Valve Replacement Surgery
  • Mitral Valve Repair
  • Endovascular Stent-graft for Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm
  • Surgical Ablation for Atrial Fibrillation
  • "Limited Access" Valve Surgery (Thoracoscopic and Robotic)
  • Anti-Reflux Esophageal Surgery
  • Lung Cancer and Treatment Options
  • TMR-Transmyocardial Revascularization
  • Ventricular Remodeling Surgery & Ventricular Assist Device (VAD) Program


Daniel Beckles, MD, PhD

Clinical Professor of Surgery
Division Chief, CT Surgery
Department of Surgery

Phone: (718) 270-1981
Fax: (718) 270-3843
For appointments call: 718-270-1981

Siyamek Neragi-Miandoab, MD, PhD

Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery
Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery
Department of Surgery

Phone: (718) 270-1981
Fax: (718) 270-3843
For appointments call: 718-270-1981


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