Frequently Asked Questions
We have composed a list of common questions that we receive from patients. For any other inquiries, please contact us at 310.854.0909.
Q: What is thoracic surgery?
A: Thoracic surgery is a medical specialty devoted to the treatment of benign diseases and malignancies that occur within the chest cavity. Thoracic surgeons treat and operate on conditions that occur in organs such as the lungs, esophagus, airways, thymus as well as in the bony structures and tissues that form the chest cavity.
Q: What thoracic conditions do you treat?
A: Our surgeons, Ali Mahtabifard, MD and Clark Fuller, MD, have extensive experience treating a number of benign diseases and malignancies within the chest cavity. Common conditions treated at our practice include:
- Lung Cancer
- Metastases of other cancers to the lungs
- Solitary Pulmonary Nodule
- Gastroesophageal Disease (GERD)
- Esophageal Cancer
- Hyperhidrosis (Excessive Sweating)
- Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
- Myasthenia Gravis & Thymoma
For a complete list of conditions, visit our Areas of Expertise.
Q: What is Video-Assisted Thoracic Surgery (VATS)?
A: Video-Assisted Thoracic Surgery (VATS) is a minimally invasive surgical technique that is used to diagnose and treat a variety of conditions within the chest cavity. VATS involves using a high-tech camera known as a thoracoscope to transmit live video feed from within the chest to monitors in the operating room, which our surgeons can view throughout the entire surgery. VATS requires much smaller incisions than traditional “open” surgery, and as a result, offers substantial benefits to patients.
Q: Do you perform minimally invasive lung surgery?
A: Yes, virtually all of our lung cancer treatments and other surgical procedures are performed using a minimally invasive technique, also known as video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS). Many medical facilities throughout the country still perform lung cancer surgery (lobectomy) using the traditional open approach, which involves a large chest incision and extensive rib and tissue damage. Our surgeons’ minimally invasive technique has numerous benefits for patients, including greatly reduced post-operative pain, decreased risk of complications, and improved surgical outcomes.
Q: What health insurance do you accept?
A: We accept all PPO insurance, including Cigna, Aetna, United HealthCare, Anthem Blue Cross, and Blue Shield. Our doctors work with each patient and their provider to carefully determine which services will be covered by insurance. We also offer cash discount rates to patients who do not have health insurance.
Q: What makes West Coast Thoracic Surgery unique?
A: West Coast Thoracic Surgery is directed by renowned thoracic surgeons Ali Mahtabifard, MD and Clark Fuller, MD, leading experts in the field of minimally invasive thoracic surgery. Dr. Mahtabifard and Dr. Fuller have trained at some of the country’s most prestigious medical institutions, including Memorial Sloan-Kettering in New York, MD Anderson in Houston, and Harvard’s top teaching facility, Massachusetts General Hospital.
Our surgeons bring an unparalleled level of knowledge and skill in the use of video-assisted thoracoscopic (VATS) surgical technique. Dr. Mahtabifard served as the Clinical Chief of Thoracic Surgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center from 2012-2014, while Dr. Fuller directs the Minimally Invasive Thoracic Surgery Center at Saint John’s Health Center. Additionally, Dr. Mahtabifard is one of the main editors and author of the internationally acclaimed textbook “Atlas of Minimally Invasive Thoracic Surgery (VATS).”
Every patient is provided with a thorough personal assessment that enables our team to implement, monitor, and evaluate your care and answer any questions you may have. During almost every operation, both of our surgeons perform the surgery together. Having two surgeons rather than one helps to minimize the risk of problems during surgery and ensures that our patients receive the safest care possible.
Contact West Coast Thoracic Surgery
West Coast Thoracic Surgery is a Los Angeles-based practice dedicated to the comprehensive treatment of benign diseases and malignancies within the chest cavity. Our directors, Ali Mahtabifard, MD and Clark Fuller, MD have combined over 25 years of experience in thoracic surgery and are highly regarded as leading experts in minimally invasive surgical techniques.
To schedule a consultation with one of our renowned thoracic surgeons, contact us at 310.854.0909 or fill out our online contact form. We look forward to providing you the highest quality of patient care.
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