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What Does the Future Hold...?

Olive_TreeOlive_Tree Registered User Posts: 3,108 Senior Member
edited August 2007 in Careers in Medicine
What does the future hold for cardiothoracic surgery, especially dealing with heart and lung transplants? I'm asking this because I have a passion for this surgical specialty, as well as the possibility of performing heart and lung transplants. I've recently started to volunteer at a thoracic and cardiovascular unit at my local medical center and an interventional cardiologist told me something like,"I don't think we'll have those in a couple of years," or something of that nature. I know that interventional cardiology has been competing with cardiothoracic surgery due to it's largely un-invasive methods, but will the cardiothoracic surgery future be that bleak?
Is this true? For those in the medical field, are there any new innovations in this field or will cardiothoracic surgery become extinct like the interventional cardiologist said?

Thank you
Post edited by Olive_Tree on

Replies to: What Does the Future Hold...?

  • BigredmedBigredmed Registered User Posts: 3,752 Senior Member
    If you're purely a thoracic surgeon - ignoring the heart, there's a huge demand. The surgeon who is running my "mentor group" stuff while I'm on my surgery clerkship is the only purely thoracic surgeon at my medical center and pretty much everyone knows that the guy is busy 24/7.

    There will always be some need for people capable of doing CABG. And there are a ton of CT surgeons set to retire soon, but the interventional cardiologists are doing some pretty amazing stuff.
  • bluedevilmikebluedevilmike Registered User Posts: 11,964 Senior Member
    He may be very busy, but there's still only one of him. So if he's really busy, it means that your entire medical center -- which I'm sure is a huge center -- has room for two, or maybe three thoracic surgeons.

    And CABG procedures probably have some overlap with angioplasty, don't they? As angioplasty improves, I'm guessing CABG demand will go down.

    Certainly the reputation among my classmates here is that CT surgery is a dying field.
  • Olive_TreeOlive_Tree Registered User Posts: 3,108 Senior Member
    What about the thoracic part of the specialty? The lungs and lung tranplants are extremely fascinating to me, so will thoracic surgeons still be needed or are they a part of a dying field, as well? I do know that I wouldn't want to be an interventional cardiologist because you wouldn't be able to perform surgery, which is my main attraction in medicine.

    Thanks for the replies, by the way.
  • bluedevilmikebluedevilmike Registered User Posts: 11,964 Senior Member
    Those are transplant surgeons, not thoracic surgeons.
  • Olive_TreeOlive_Tree Registered User Posts: 3,108 Senior Member
    Yes, but I do know of some cardiothoracic surgeons who perform heart and lung transplants (a cardiothoracic surgeon who does lung and heart transplants surgeries with the UChicago Medical Center would be an example). What transplants do tranplant surgeons do; heart, lungs, both, what?
  • bluedevilmikebluedevilmike Registered User Posts: 11,964 Senior Member
    Kidneys, liver are the other big two. Brain transplants haven't quite arrived yet.

    My guess is that few people do more than one kind of transplant anymore.
  • Olive_TreeOlive_Tree Registered User Posts: 3,108 Senior Member
    I'm not sure brain transplants will ever arrive; a person's entire being would be altered. So, basically I should start looking into other surgical specialties since not much of a future will come out of cardiothoracic surgery? What are the surgical specialties that are going through many innovations right now and outlooks for the future are bright?

    Thank you so much for the help! I would talk to some of the cardiologists at the medical center I volunteer with, but they seem very, and I mean very, uninterested in me and have a bit of an air of all-importance to them. Well, maybe I shouldn't criticize since they are doctors. It's very intimidating, to say the least, especially since this is my first time interacting with doctors in a professional setting instead of in a doctor-patient one.
  • Olive_TreeOlive_Tree Registered User Posts: 3,108 Senior Member
    I'm bumping this!
  • Olive_TreeOlive_Tree Registered User Posts: 3,108 Senior Member
    Anyone have more advice?
  • bluedevilmikebluedevilmike Registered User Posts: 11,964 Senior Member
    Too early to worry about this. Deal with it when you're a third-year medical student.
  • my$0.02my$0.02 Registered User Posts: 902 Member
    Heart or lung transplants are usually done by CT surgeons with transplant fellowships. Liver, kidney and kidney/pancreas transplants are sometimes done by a second category of surgeons. Less common transplants include en-bloc bowel transplant.

    Thoracic surgery will continue to be necessary for treatment of lung cancer, complications of pneumonia, and transplants. As previously noted, CT surgery and interventional cardiology turf overlaps, but much work remains for CT surgeons as long as revascularization is a goal.
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