Clinical Programs

Lung Cancer Program

Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers in both men and women. UCLA thoracic surgeons are experts in the diagnosis, staging, and management of lung cancer. We apply the most current surgical techniques including video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) and robotic-assisted thoracic surgery (RATS). We work closely with specialists in multiple disciplines including pulmonology, oncology, radiation oncology, and radiology to provide our patients with the best possible care. We participate in research projects to study the biology of lung cancer, new lung cancer treatments, new surgical techniques, and optimization of preoperative and postoperative patient care. At UCLA, we have all the resources to provide personalized lung cancer care that will give each patient the best chance of long-term survival.


Esophageal Cancer and Benign Esophageal Disorders Program

The UCLA Division of Thoracic Surgery offers the full spectrum of testing and treatment for disorders of the esophagus. Our thoracic surgeons play central roles in the multi-disciplinary care of esophageal cancer and Barret’s esophagus. We also treat benign conditions of the esophagus including reflux, hiatal hernia, achalasia, and esophageal diverticulum.


Mesothelioma Program

We have a long history of innovation in the treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma at UCLA. Our surgeons have long championed a now widely accepted lung-sparing approach to the surgical treatment of mesothelioma called pleurectomy and decortication. We also work closely with our colleagues in oncology, radiation oncology, and interventional radiology to tailor a treatment program specific to each patient’s needs. Outcomes for mesothelioma patients have improved over the last several years, and we are committed to continuing to find new ways to improve.


Robotic Thoracic Surgery Program

Minimally-invasive approaches to thoracic operations have been a focus at UCLA for decades. We have a longstanding history of excellent outcomes using video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS). More recently, we have adopted robotic-assisted techniques as well. The robotic approach has the potential to minimize patient discomfort while maximizing surgical dexterity. We are able to approach cases robotically that would have required a traditional open incision in the past, leading to faster recovery times.


Sarcoma Program

The UCLA Sarcoma Program provides innovative multidisciplinary treatment for adults and children with sarcoma at any stage of the disease. UCLA is one of the three busiest sarcoma centers in the nation. On an annual basis we evaluate over 1000 patients with sarcoma, over 500 of which undergo surgery at UCLA. At UCLA, a patient’s plan of care is decided by our weekly sarcoma tumor board involving physicians specializing in sarcoma from surgical oncology, orthopedic oncology, gynecologic oncology, medical oncology, radiation oncology, pediatric oncology, pathology and radiology.


Tracheobronchial disorders
Our surgeons are experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of benign and malignant conditions of the airways (trachea and bronchi). We employ rigid and flexible bronchoscopy, dilation, stenting, laser treatment, and surgical intervention to treat these problems. We have recently developed a multi-disciplinary program focusing on tracheobronchomalacia.

Mediastinal tumors
Mediastinal tumors are rare masses that grow in the mediastinum, the space in the middle of the chest around the heart. Most of these masses grow in the front part of the chest, the anterior mediastinum, which contains the thymus gland. Tumors in this area can be benign or malignant and small or large. We offer the full spectrum of care for these problems. Many times, we can use robotic techniques to remove mediastinal masses without large incisions. We are also well-equipped to perform larger resections, including resections of tumors that involve nearby structures such as blood vessels. In addition to removal of tumors, we perform thymectomies to treat myasthenia gravis.

Chest Wall and Diaphragm
At UCLA, we treat a variety of patients with benign and malignant chest wall disorders. We perform chest wall resections and reconstructions for tumors that involve the chest wall. We also treat a variety of benign chest wall disorders with operations including first rib resection for thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS), pectus repairs, and plating for complicated rib fractures. We are experienced in minimally-invasive and robotic approaches to diaphragm plication and repair of diaphragmatic hernias.