Key points

  • Thoracic surgery has changed profoundly in the 21st century. Multidisciplinary treatment is evolving and surgeons have major collaborative roles in management of lung cancer, respiratory infections, chest trauma, paediatric respiratory disorders and end-stage respiratory insufficiency.

  • Today, lung cancer is the most frequent indication for thoracic surgery.

  • Lung transplantation is increasingly an option for patients with end-stage lung disease.

  • The organisation of thoracic surgery varies between European countries and precise figures on the number of centres and the number of procedures carried out each year are not available.

  • Thoracic surgeons need to be equally competent in pre-operative investigation and planning, the surgery itself and post-operative management.

  • Recent developments in thoracic surgery have focused on reducing invasiveness, particularly through the use of video-assistance, and on parenchyma-saving techniques such as sublobar resection.

  • To further stimulate progress in general thoracic surgery and to improve outcomes for patients, cooperation with respiratory physicians is of utmost importance.

See the entire Thoracic-surgery Chapter