Thoracic Surgery Fellowship

Directed by Dr. Omar Awais, the Thoracic Surgery Advanced Fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh has received full accreditation by the Fellowship Council. The fellowship is designed to offer experience in minimally invasive surgical techniques of the esophagus, lung and mediastinum. There are four fellows per year training in advanced general thoracic and minimally invasive thoracic surgical techniques of the lung, esophagus and mediastinum. Since its inception, the fellowship program has grown and expanded to provide advanced general thoracic surgery training for cardiothoracic surgeons entering the rapidly expanding field of general thoracic surgery.

While the caseload does include some open procedures, the vast majority are completed minimally invasively by both laparoscopy and thoracoscopy. The trainees gain significant experience in a wide range of minimally invasive procedures, including minimally invasive esophagectomy, laparoscopic anti-reflux surgery, minimally invasive treatment of other benign esophageal disorders such as achalasia, diverticulum, other VATS procedures including resection of mediastinal tumors and lung resection including video assisted thoracoscopic lobectomy and sublobar resection, CT-guided chest interventions, radiofrequency ablation; endoscopic therapy, and many other advanced minimally invasive procedures of the chest and foregut.

Procedural Requirements

Fellows are expected to maintain an up-to-date log of their operative cases. Fellows will be able to show competency in advanced laparoscopic and thoracoscopic techniques and will have completed, with minimal support from attending, the following procedures:


Flexible bronchoscopy
Rigid bronchoscopy
Tracheal stent
Airway laser/Photodynamic therapy (PDT)
Tracheal resection


Open Lung Resection
Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS)
Wedge/lung biopsy
Pleural biopsy
Radiofrequency Ablation
Cyberknife Stereotactic Radiosurgery


Mass Resection


Lap Nissen
Lap redo-Nissen/Lap Collis-Nissen
Lap redo-Collis Nissen
Lap Heller myotomy
Lap Roux En-Y Gastric Bypass
Lap staging +/- infusaport
Minimally invasive esophagectomy
Open Esophagectomy
Zenker’s Diverticulectomy
EGD & dilation
EGD & stent
EGD & laser/PDT