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Thoracic Surgery at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center deals with non-cardiac thoracic diseases. The main emphasis is on diagnosis and treatment of thoracic lesions which are suspected neoplasms. Diseases treated include pulmonary, esophageal, mediastinal, pericardial and pleural lesions, as well as those affecting the chest wall and sternum.
Benign conditions affecting cancer patients or patients suspected of having cancers are also frequently encountered. Thoracic Oncology (Surgery and Medicine) has a separate geographic floor for inpatients consisting of 41 adult beds and uses three to four operating rooms on a daily basis.
The joint NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital (Cornell University)/Memorial Hospital Residency program in Cardiothoracic Surgery is two years in length and accepts one thoracic-track and two cardiac-track trainees annually. Presently, each cardiac-track resident spends six months and each thoracic track 15 months of these two years on the Thoracic Surgical Service at Memorial Hospital where he/she has senior responsibility on the Service. The thoracic track program of the residency in Cardiothoracic Surgery resident was initiated by Dr. Robert Ginsberg in 1990 and was the first such program in the United States.
Our graduates have primarily gone on to academic positions in major universities. The selection of trainees for the Thoracic track program is done jointly by the co-directors of the program in the two institutions involved in providing the training, and two lists are submitted to the National Matching System — one for the thoracic-track and one for the cardiac-track program
The CT residents are all at levels of PGY 6 or 7 and are board-eligible or board-certified by the American Board of Surgery. The thoracic-track resident is administratively responsible for the entire Thoracic Surgical Service, and for coordinating all conferences of the Thoracic Service each week in collaboration with the attending staff.
At any one time there are four to five additional residents or fellows on the Thoracic Service in a senior capacity. The Surgical Oncology Fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering provides postgraduate training in surgical oncology to trainees who have completed their residency in General Surgery and are either eligible or certified by the American Board of Surgery. Most Surgical Oncology fellows spend one month of a two-year training program on the Thoracic Surgical Service. PGY 4 or 5 residents from the General Surgery residency program at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital spend one or two months as a senior resident on the Thoracic Surgery Service. Senior fellows who have completed or are finishing residency training in general thoracic surgery also spend three to 12 months with us to gain additional experience in thoracic oncology.
The case load is large enough to accommodate and train these individuals in a senior capacity and is comfortably divided among all the senior trainees. Three PGY1, two or three residents in Surgery or Anesthesiology are also assigned to the Thoracic Surgery Service. One nurse practitioner and four physician assistants work full-time on the Thoracic Surgery Service and assist in the operating room, in perioperative care, and in the outpatient clinic.
The main administrative responsibility for the thoracic-track program rests with the Chief of Thoracic Surgery at Memorial Hospital, whereas the direction of the cardiac-track program rests with the Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.