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The thoracic surgery program at Rush draws upon more than 70 years of combined experience in traditional thoracic surgery and more than 15 years of combined experience in leading-edge laparoscopic surgery. Our knowledge base ensures that patients referred to our program received state-of-the-art care from some of the most experienced and qualified thoracic surgical specialists in the area.

Our surgeons are committed to fostering a strong relationship between referring physicians, patients and patients' family members to achieve optimal results. This commitment is reflected in timely and thorough communication with all parties, coordination of services while patients are in our care, and a comprehensive follow-up plan upon discharge.


Andrew Arndt, MD, completed medical school at Emory University School of Medicine, his residency at Rush University Medical Center, and his fellowship at Yale University. He is board certified in thoracic and cardiac surgery and has clinical expertise in lung cancer surgery, carcinoid tumors, chest tumors, chest wall reconstruction, esophageal cancer, esophagectomy, lung cancer, mediastinal tumors, pleurodesis, thoracic outlet syndrome, thoracic surgery, and thoracoscopic surgery. Additionally, he is an assistant professor at Rush University Medical Center.

​Gary W. Chmielweski, MD, practiced in Southeastern Michigan at Beaumont Hospitals for 20 years before he was recruited by Rush University Medical Center to come back and practice in his hometown of Chicago. He is as excited now to practice in the field of thoracic surgery as when he first started his practice. Partnering with patients to help them with diseases of the lung, esophagus, and other chest structures has been extremely satisfying and rewarding for him. He has always strived to bring the latest and best tools to treat a patients particular problem. With his partners at University Thoracic Surgeons he has found a home with colleagues who also share a passion for the latest minimally invasive surgery techniques and optimal patient care. 


Michael J. Liptay, MD, is the leader of University Thoracic Surgeons, the busiest minimally invasive thoracic surgery group in the Metropolitan Chicago area.  In addition, he is Professor of Surgery and Chairman of the Department of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery at Rush.   He heads a group of excellent physicians, and under his leadership our team strives to work with your local physicians and caregivers to provide a seamless continuity across the spectrum of care.

Christopher W. Seder, MD, graduated medical school from Michigan State University's College of Human Medicine and trained in general surgery at William Beaumont Hospital, during which time he spent 1 year in University of Michigan's Thoracic Surgery Laboratory. He went on to complete his cardiothoracic surgery training at Mayo Clinic, with a focus on general thoracic surgery. His clinical interests include all aspects of general thoracic surgery, including thoracoscopic and robotic approaches to pulmonary, mediastinal, and esophageal diseases. Dr. Seder's academic interests include resident education as well as clinical and translational research focusing on thoracic oncology.



​Thoracic surgeons at Rush specialize in state-of-the-art minimally invasive and traditional approaches to the diagnosis and treatment of cancerous and benign disorders of the lungs, chest wall, esophagus and diaphragm, as well as treatment of other conditions such as hyperhidrosis.

​​​​Surgery for Lung Cancer

We consider excellence in surgery for lung cancer to be at the core of the mission of the thoracic surgery service at Rush. You will be treated by thoracic surgeons who specialize in the management of lung cancer and have trained to treat this disease at some of the top thoracic surgery units in the United States. We work together with oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists and radiologists to provide a comprehensive approach to therapy. Our surgical lung cancer specialists are specially trained to perform all of the different types of lung cancer resections that might be required — with the lowest risk and greatest chance of cure. Several studies have now demonstrated that risks are lower and cure rates higher when lung cancer procedures are performed by surgeons who are specialized in these techniques.

Airway/Tracheal Program

The airway/tracheal program at University Thoracic Surgeons treats a wide range of airway and tracheal conditions. Additional information here.

Hyperhidrosis Surgery Service

Hyperhidrosis is a condition causing excessive sweating in the hands, armpits or feet of the affected individuals, and is controlled by the sympathetic nervous system. Medical therapies to treat this condition include salves, electrical stimulation and medications, and surgery is reserved for cases resistant to medical interventions. Additional information here.

Minimally Invasive Program

Rush University Medical Center's Department of Thoracic Surgery employs minimally invasive surgical techniques to treat a wide range of conditions. Using high-definition imaging technology and precision instruments, surgeons work through tiny incisions to perform these procedures. In comparison with traditional (i.e., open) surgery, minimally invasive surgery generally involves:

  • Less blood loss, postoperative pain and scarring
  • An earlier discharge, as many procedures are done on an outpatient basis
  • A quicker recovery and return to normal activities

As one of the world's foremost academic medical centers, Rush is committed to developing new minimally invasive surgical techniques and integrating them into our care. As a large referral service, we conduct thousands of these operations every year for a wide variety of conditions.

Video-Assisted Thoracoscopy (VATS) Lobectomy for lung cancer resection. Removal of a section or lobe of the lung involved with cancer is the gold standard for localized lung cancers and offers the best chance for a long term remission and cure. This minimally invasive technique has the advantage of shorter hospital stay, less pain and a quicker return to normal activities (usually half the time as traditional open procedures). Nonetheless, only 15 percent of lobotomies in the country are performed this way.

Endobronchial Ultrasound (EBUS), in which a fine-needle biopsy of mediastinal nodes or a lung mass is performed for the minimally invasive staging of lung cancer. This procedure avoids incisions altogether while still providing the pathologist and care team the much needed staging information or diagnosis.

Esophageal Procedures

We perform:

  • Stenting, in treating strictures and cancer of the esophagus 
  • Laparoscopic procedures in the treatment of paraesophageal hernias and achalasia
  • Laparoscopic procedures in the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease, including reoperative procedures
  • Minimally invasive esophagectomies for esophageal cancer
  • Transoral approaches to Zenker's diverticulum: transoral surgery with no incisions

Thoracic surgeons are supported by a team of anesthesiologists who are dedicated to the care of thoracic patients. After surgery, patients are followed closely to ensure the best long-term care.

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome Program

A single test can rarely confirm a thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) diagnosis. Rush's thoracic surgeons design examination programs tailored to individual patients. Our TOS diagnoses are established by ruling out other disorders and then testing to see if the condition involves the nerves (neurogenic TOS) or the blood vessels (vascular TOS). Additional information here.

Surgical Repair of Chest Wall Deformity, Pectus Excavatum, Pectus Carinatum

Pectus excavatum (PE) is an abnormal development of the rib cage where the breastbone (sternum) caves in, resulting in a sunken chest wall deformity. Sometimes referred to as "funnel chest," pectus excavatum is a deformity often present at birth (congenital) that can be mild or severe. Since most patients with the deformity do not have symptoms, treatment may not be needed, or will be dependent upon the development of symptoms. Additional information here.

Surgery for Esophageal Cancers

Esophageal cancer presents in two main forms: squamous cell carcinoma and esophageal adenocarcinoma. Additional information here.

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Accreditation and Recognition

Rush University Medical Center
1725 W. Harrison St.
Professional Building III
Suite 774
Chicago, IL 60612
Phone: 312-738-3732
Fax: 312-738-9763
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Rush Northshore
9669 N Kenton
Suite 604
Skokie, IL 60076
Phone: 312-738-3732
Fax: 312-738-9763
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Rush/Du Page Medical Group
430 S Warrenville Rd.
Suite 300
Lisle, IL 60532
Phone: 312-738-3732
Fax: 312-738-9763
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Northwest Community Hospital
880 W. Central Rd.
Ste. 5000
Arlington Heights, IL 60005
Phone: 847-618-3800
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