14 doctors weighed in:
What is the difference between thoracic surgery and heart surgery?
14 doctors weighed in

Dr. Craig Carter
Surgery - Thoracic
4 doctors agree
In brief: Organs
Cardiac surgery involves the heart and great vessels.
Thoracic surgery involves the lungs, chest wall, esophagus, and great vessels. Cardiac surgeons are also thoracic trained, but not all thoracic surgeons are cardiac trained.

In brief: Organs
Cardiac surgery involves the heart and great vessels.
Thoracic surgery involves the lungs, chest wall, esophagus, and great vessels. Cardiac surgeons are also thoracic trained, but not all thoracic surgeons are cardiac trained.
Dr. Craig Carter
Dr. Craig Carter
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1 comment
Dr. Joel Gorfinkel
Agree. Most cardiac surgeons pretty much "stick" with heart surgery and don't do much chest surgery, especially the busy ones.
Dr. David Cooke
Surgery - Thoracic
3 doctors agree
In brief: Can be different
Heart surgery is surgery of the heart and great blood vessels thoracic surgery is surgery of the heart and everything in the chest general thoracic surgery is surgery of everything in the chest except the heart and great blood vessels.

In brief: Can be different
Heart surgery is surgery of the heart and great blood vessels thoracic surgery is surgery of the heart and everything in the chest general thoracic surgery is surgery of everything in the chest except the heart and great blood vessels.
Dr. David Cooke
Dr. David Cooke
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Dr. Bennett Werner
Internal Medicine - Cardiology
3 doctors agree
In brief: Definitions
Thoracic surgery is any surgery in your chest.
Common examples are surgery on the lungs, heart or esophagus. Heart surgery is, of course, confined to the heart. All heart surgeons are thoracic surgeons.

In brief: Definitions
Thoracic surgery is any surgery in your chest.
Common examples are surgery on the lungs, heart or esophagus. Heart surgery is, of course, confined to the heart. All heart surgeons are thoracic surgeons.
Dr. Bennett Werner
Dr. Bennett Werner
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Dr. Loki Skylizard
Surgery - Thoracic
In brief: Term use
Thoracic surgeons operate on the chest and the organs within: heart, lungs, esophagus, chest wall.
You may also find a common title of "cardiothoracic surgeon" or in more specialized regions a distinction will be made between heart surgeons and non-heart surgeons, i.e. "cardiovascular surgeons" vs "thoracic surgeons".

In brief: Term use
Thoracic surgeons operate on the chest and the organs within: heart, lungs, esophagus, chest wall.
You may also find a common title of "cardiothoracic surgeon" or in more specialized regions a distinction will be made between heart surgeons and non-heart surgeons, i.e. "cardiovascular surgeons" vs "thoracic surgeons".
Dr. Loki Skylizard
Dr. Loki Skylizard
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