Thoracic surgeons operate on diseases that occur in the organs inside the chest. This includes the lungs, the esophagus and the area of the thorax known as the mediastinum, which contains the heart, pericardium, trachea, thymus and lymph nodes.

Thoracic Surgery is often grouped with cardiac surgery for procedures classified as cardiothoracic surgery. While coronary artery disease is one of the most common diseases treated by cardiac and cardiovascular surgeons, Thoracic surgeons often treat lung cancer and diseases of the esophagus.