Dr. Eric Sommers is a part of Tampa General Hospital in downtown Tampa, Florida

Thoracic Surgery

Thoracic Disorders Commonly Treated

Some commonly diagnosed conditions by Dr. K Eric Sommers:

Chest Wall Tumors

  • Chondrosarcoma
  • Fibrous Dysplasia
  • Chondroma
  • Myeloma
  • Ewings Sarcoma
  • Desmoid tumors

Esophageal Disorders

  • Esophageal cancer and Leiomyoma
  • Esophageal diverticulum

Lung Cancer

  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Advanced stage lung tumors
  • Bronchoalveolar carcinoma
  • Squamous cell carcinoma
  • Superior sulcus tumor (Pancoast)

Pleural Disorders

  • Pleural effusions
  • Chylothorax
  • Mesothelioma

Pulmonary Infections

  • Empyema
  • Lung abscess
  • Tuberculosis

Pulmonary Metastases
Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

Thymic Disorders

  • Germ-cell tumors
  • Myasthenia Gravis
  • Thymomas      

Trachea Disorders

  • Tracheal stenosis
  • Tracheal malacia
  • Trachea-esophageal fistula

Tracheal Neoplasms

  • Cylindroma
  • Squamous cell carcinoma


Commonly Performed Thoracic Surgeries

Thoracic surgery services performed:

  • Bronchoscopy
  • Chest Wall Reconstruction
  • Diagnosis and Treatment of Mediastinal Disease
  • Esophagus Surgery
  • Lung Cancer Surgery
  • Robot Assisted Thoracic Surgery
  • Video Assisted Thoracic Surgery (VATS)

The surgical team has a wealth of diagnostic and treatment services available for patients with benign and malignant neoplasms and other disorders of the lung, esophagus, mediastinum, and chest wall.

Dr. Sommers is a recognized leader in the use of minimally invasive surgical techniques, and one of the first surgeons in Florida to utilize the daVinci surgical robot for thoracic surgery. Dr. Sommers surgeons coordinate each patient’s medical needs with a team of experts from many different fields including specialists from, medical oncology, pulmonary medicine, radiation oncology, and radiology. Dr. Sommers offers innovative or minimally invasive surgical treatments (video-assisted thoracic surgery VATS, Robot-assisted thoracic surgery, and laser bronchoscopy) as well as traditional surgical procedures.

Minimally Invasive Thoracic Surgery

Dr. K Eric Sommers is committed to providing patients with the best therapies available. The development of minimally invasive surgery in recent years has done more to impact the field of thoracic surgery than any other recent innovation. With traditional (open) approaches, surgery of the thorax is conducted through large open incisions that prolong the patient's hospital stay and postoperative convalescence. Although a traditional surgical approach is still needed for many complex thoracic cases, an increasing number of diagnostic and surgical procedures now can be approached through smaller incisions and by using less invasive techniques aided by video technology. These procedures have been rendered accurate, efficient, cost-effective, and safe through years of technological development and experience.

Thoracoscopy, and robotics are the minimally invasive tools most commonly used in thoracic surgery. Dr. K Eric Sommers is supported by an expert nursing staff and a substantial investment by the hospital in the equipment and infrastructure necessary to provide such services. Many patients have the impression that a prior abdominal or thoracic procedure precludes the use of minimally invasive re-operations. This is simply not true. Of course, each patient is evaluated individually, but frequently even patients who have had prior surgery are deemed appropriate for minimally invasive surgery. In fact, one of Dr. K Eric Sommers’s interests is the re-operative management of complex lung disorders with minimal access surgery.

What is minimally invasive thoracic surgery?

Minimally invasive surgery involves the use of several small incisions, 5-10 mm in length. These incisions or portals provide access to the body cavity for surgical instruments and a video camera, which are manipulated outside the body. The surgeon then views the entire operation on a video monitor in the operating room. The goals of minimal access surgery are:

  • To improve accuracy and visualization
  • To minimize trauma to tissue
  • To decrease pain
  • To shorten the time to return to work and activity
  • To limit scarring

Who can get minimally invasive thoracic surgery?

A variety of thoracic disorders, including complex problems, can be approached using minimally invasively techniques. Some of the more common problems are listed below.


  • Tumors (Cancer, Nodules)
  • Congenital (Pneumothorax, Sequestration, Fistula)
  • Acquired (Infection, Empyema)


  • Tumors (thymoma, cyst) 

In the News

Review of Thoracic Surgical Oncology