Thorax surgery at Karolinska University Hospital includes cardiac and general thorax surgery and the treatment of diseases and conditions of the lungs, pleura, mediastinum (the area in the chest cavity between the lungs), and skeleton of the thoracic cage. Most surgeries are performed due to primary or metastatic cancer, but conditions including lung collapse, infections, traumatic injuries, and chest deformities are also treated.
The general thoracic surgery unit at Karolinska University Hospital offers highly specialized lung surgery and conducts comprehensive research and education within the field to improve outcomes for future patients. We also hold continuous training at basic and specialist levels for nurses and physicians. Thoracic surgery is a popular rotation for medical students, and the clinic repeatedly receives high scores in evaluations.
Our multi-disciplinary team includes specialists in thoracic surgery, lung oncology, pulmonologists, radiologists, and pathologists, enabling us to treat all patients with customized care based on their individual needs.
The unit collaborates with the Lung Oncologic Center (LOC) and other teams in our hospital, as well as other thoracic clinics both nationally and internationally. We are the only provider of thoracic surgery within the region.
Our most common surgical approach is the minimally invasive technique (uniport video-assisted thoracic surgery, VATS) which enables the surgery to be performed with fewer skin incisions resulting in less pain and faster recovery. The majority of our patients leave the hospital one or two days after the surgery.
500 lung surgeries per year
About 500 lung surgeries are performed at Karolinska every year. Lung surgery is most often performed due to cancer-related conditions, but we also provide surgery for different non-malignant conditions, for example, surgery of thoracic wall deformities, pneumothorax, and mediastinal tumors.
Our patients undergo surgery at the thoracic surgery medical unit, which also includes cardiac surgery, and are then cared for at our general thoracic ward. Physicians, nurses, assistant nurses, and physiotherapists with experience in surgical care work here and focus on rapid recovery after surgery. Seven out of ten lung surgery patients can return home already on the first or second day after their procedures.