Thoracic Surgery

At the University of Michigan, in the Section of Thoracic Surgery, we draw on a legacy of impact and innovation in the treatment of surgical diseases of the chest as we continue to expand the field’s understanding of thoracic health, translating our discoveries to the clinic, and training the next generation of experts in thoracic surgery.

Leaders in Thoracic Surgery

Pioneers of the transhiatal esophagectomy, Michigan thoracic surgeons continue to lead in the treatment and research of surgical diseases of the trachea, lung, mediastinum, diaphragm, and esophagus. They were the first in Michigan to complete a lung transplant in 1990 and have gone on to perform more than 500 of these life-saving procedures.

We cultivate a multidisciplinary partnership with our colleagues in anesthesiology, oncology, pulmonary medicine, and gastroenterology that results in the best outcomes for patients and wide-ranging training experience for residents.

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Clinical Strengths

We provide comprehensive diagnostic and therapeutic services for patients with surgical diseases of the chest, including malignant and benign tumors of the lung, esophagus and ribs, gastroesophageal reflux and its complications, and neuromotor esophageal abnormalities. We are leaders in esophageal and complex lung cancer surgery, with a focus on minimal access surgery, including using the da Vinci platform, a surgical technique that can shorten patient recovery time and reduce pain. We have one of the most robust thoracic robotic surgery programs in the country.


Graduates of our training programs go on to take leadership roles in the field, finding success in both private practice and academic medicine. We offer two residency programs — a 2-year fellowship program and an integrated 6-year thoracic residency with our partners in the Department of Cardiac Surgery. Trainees develop expertise in surgical care of adult cardiac, general thoracic, and congenital cardiac diseases.


From early detection and personalized therapies for lung and esophageal cancer to the novel use of imaging technologies to assess surgical patients’ preoperative health, Michigan thoracic surgeons connect biomedical breakthroughs to practical applications to improve lives. Our research efforts include lung reconditioning using ex-vivo lung perfusion prior to transplantation; RNA sequencing to provide early cancer diagnosis; and development of an artificial lung that could serve as an alternative to extracorporeal membrane oxygenation.

The Michigan Promise

The Michigan Promise supports faculty and resident life within the Department of Surgery with the goal of empowering each individual to reach their professional goals. It supports initiatives that relate to environment, recruitment, leadership, achievement, innovation, and outreach.