Advanced Minimally Invasive and Organ Preserving Techniques

Surgeon compares chest xrays on lightboard

Thoracic Surgery

The Surgical Lung and Chest Care Program at Columbia

The Surgical Lung and Chest Care program at Columbia provides the most advanced surgical options for all chest conditions, from the extremely common conditions to rare and complex diseases, including: 

  • Airway obstructions
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Diaphragm disorders 
  • Lung cancer
  • Pleural disease

Columbia is one of the leading surgery programs in the world, with experience treating challenging cases that have been turned away from other programs. As part of the Price Center for Comprehensive Chest Care, our surgeons are integrated into teams from specialized centers and programs, and work closely with Columbia pulmonologists to coordinate care at the highest level.

Our Expertise

Minimally Invasive Surgery

Our surgeons are at the forefront of minimally invasive surgery. Our vast expertise with traditional surgery allows us to translate our knowledge into innovative, minimally invasive procedures for conditions like breathing issues and lung cancers. Columbia has also pioneered minimally invasive surgery techniques for preserving or improving organ function. These techniques can help patients waiting for transplants or if open surgery isn’t a viable option. 

Diaphram Center

Columbia is proudly home to the first and only multidisciplinary program in the country that exclusively addresses weakness and paralysis of the diaphragm, which can cause respiratory distress, sleep apnea, and disorders of the nervous system. We offer treatments for diaphragmatic paralysis like phrenic nerve grafting (a repair of damaged nerves) and plication (flattening the dome of the diaphragm to give the lungs more room to expand). We are also world leaders in diaphragmatic pacing (applying electrical impulses to provide breathing support) and in the repair of hiatal hernias.

Lung Volume Reduction Surgery (LVRS)

Lung Volume Reduction Surgery (LVRS) is a surgical treatment that removes diseased tissue from the lungs, improving lung function and breathing for patients with end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Studies show LVRS significantly improves quality of life.

At Columbia, we perform LVRS using a video-assisted minimally invasive technique. When appropriate, we also offer bronchoscopic lung volume reduction (bLVR). Rather than removing the diseased tissue, bLVR uses a flexible bronchoscope to place one-way endobronchial valves that allow air to leave the diseased parts of the lung.

Lung Transplantation 

The Columbia Lung and Heart-Lung Transplant Program is the premier center in the New York City region for lung transplantation. The three-year survival rate for our transplant patients is 81%–compared to the national average of 69%. We are leading the way toward new and innovative methods to replenish and repair potential donor lungs—greatly increasing the number of donor organs available in the future. 

Interventional Pulmonology

The Interventional Pulmonology Program at Columbia operates jointly under the Department of Surgery and the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine. The program offers sophisticated diagnostic and therapeutic procedures for all types of airway, lung, and pleural diseases.

Our Services

  • Image-guided bronchoscopy 
  • Laparoscopic surgery
  • Lung-sparing sublobar segmentectomy
  • Navigational magnetic bronchoscopy
  • Robotic-assisted thoracic surgery (RATS)
  • Thoracoscopic surgery
  • Video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS)