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Woman prepped to start a surgery in the operating room

Thoracic Surgery

CHI Health’s Thoracic Surgery program is committed to excellence in the multidisciplinary care of patients who have disorders affecting the chest, including the lungs, esophagus, mediastinum, chest wall and diaphragm.

What is Thoracic Surgery?

Thoracic surgeons specialize in the surgical treatment of conditions that affect the chest.  These include cancer and benign conditions of the lungs, esophagus, mediastinum (center of the chest between the lungs), windpipe, chest wall and diaphragm.  

Why Choose CHI Health

  • Highly specialized surgeons. Our team has specialized training in thoracic surgery and focuses exclusively on this specialty to provide you with the most cutting edge treatments.
  • Collaborative approach. Our thoracic surgeons provide expert multidisciplinary care alongside medical oncology, radiation oncology and pulmonary medicine, and prepare a specialized care plan for you.  Our other partners include Anesthesiology, with whom we developed an Enhanced Recovery After Surgery program to help you get back to your normal activities more quickly.
  • Tumor Board. Our Tumor Board meets weekly to review cancer cases and ensure that our patients have access to new clinical trials, targeted molecular therapies and immunotherapy.
  • Minimally invasive surgery. We offer minimally invasive approaches to surgery, including VATS (video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery) and robotic surgery.    
  • Commitment to innovation. Our surgeons continue to expand our minimally invasive and robotic surgery program.  We are one of a few centers in the U.S. where the surgeons can perform both robotic bronchoscopy and surgery.
  • Rapid access to care.  Our team understands the importance of streamlining access to care.  We can accommodate visits within 24 hours and have collaborated with partners in other departments for faster access to imaging and any other testing needed.   
  • Telemedicine clinics. We know that some patients can’t always travel to Omaha and we are working to expand our access to keep our patients closer to home. 
  • Complex cases. Our team is experienced in managing the most complex cases and we are happy to provide expert second opinions to help our patients make the best treatment decisions.  

  • Lung disorders
    • Lung cancer – non-small cell lung cancer, small cell lung cancer, carcinoid tumors
    • Pulmonary sarcoma 
    • Pulmonary metastases – cancers that have traveled to the lungs
    • Congenital lung abnormalities
    • Emphysema
  • Tracheal disorders
    • Tracheal stenosis – narrowing of the windpipe
    • Trachea injury
    • Tracheal cancer
  • Pleural disorders
    • Mesothelioma – cancer of chest lining (mesothelium)
    • Pleural tumors – cancers arising in the lining of the lung
    • Pleural effusion – fluid around the lung
    • Pleural infections – infections around the lung
    • Lung entrapment – lung will not fully expand 
    • Pneumothorax – air around the lung
  • Chest wall disease
    • Chest wall tumors
    • Chest wall hernias
    • Pectus excavatum
    • Pectus carinatum
  • Esophageal disease
    • Esophageal cancer
    • Esophageal GIST
    • Esophageal leiomyoma or leiomyosarcoma
    • Paraesophageal hernias or hiatal hernias
    • Reflux
    • Achalasia
    • Esophageal diverticulum
    • Esophageal strictures
    • Congenital disorders of the esophagus – esophageal duplication cysts
    • Esophageal perforation
  • Mediastinal disease
    • Thymic tumors
    • Myasthenia gravis
    • Mediastinal tumors
    • Pericardial duplication cyst
    • Complications of granulomatous disease
    • Pericardial effusion
    • Biopsies for diagnosis of lymphoma
  • Diaphragm disorders
    • Diaphragmatic paralysis
    • Diaphragmatic hernia
  • Hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating caused by faulty nerve signals)
  • Raynaud’s with compromised digits

  • Lung surgery
    • Minimally invasive lung surgery including VATS and robotic approach including wedge, segmentectomy, lobectomy, sleeve resection, pneumonectomy
    • Open lung surgery including wedge, segmentectomy, lobectomy, sleeve resection, pneumonectomy
    • Lung volume reduction surgery
  • Tracheal surgery
    • Including tracheal resection and reconstruction
  • Pleural surgery
    • On the lining of the chest (mesothelioma)
    • For fluid in the chest
    • For air in the chest (pneumothorax)
  • Chest wall surgery
    • Chest wall resection and reconstruction for cancer
    • Pectus Excavatum and Carinatum surgery including minimally invasive Nuss Bar and Ravitch
  • Esophageal surgery 
    • Esophageal removal and reconstruction for esophageal cancer
    • Minimally invasive esophageal hernia repair
    • Minimally invasive anti-reflux surgery
    • Esophageal motility disorder surgery
    • Esophageal stenting and surgery for ruptured esophagus
  • Mediastinal surgery
    • Thymectomy for disorders of the thymus
    • Surgery for fluid around the heart
  • Diaphragm surgery 
    • Minimally invasive plication of the diaphragm for diaphragm paralysis
    • Minimally invasive repair of hernias
  • Sympathectomy for hyperhidrosis and Raynaud’s 

Thoracic Surgery Contacts

Dr Erin Gillaspie
CHI Health Clinic Thoracic Surgery
7710 Mercy Rd. Ste. 2000
Omaha, NE 68124
(402) 399-9990

Dr Marcus Balters
CHI Health Clinic Thoracic Surgery 
7710 Mercy Rd. Ste. 2000
Omaha, NE 68124
(402) 717-4900