tho·​ra·​cot·​o·​my | \ ˌthȯr-ə-ˈkä-tə-mē How to pronounce thoracotomy (audio) \
plural thoracotomies

Definition of thoracotomy

: surgical incision of the chest wall

Examples of thoracotomy in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Reduction of patients having lung surgery requiring a thoracotomy to around 50 percent versus a nationwide percentage of around 90 percent. Cincinnati Enquirer,, "Leading through expertise, innovation: TriHealth performs 15,000th robotic-assisted surgery," 24 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'thoracotomy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of thoracotomy

circa 1857, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for thoracotomy

Latin thorac-, thorax + International Scientific Vocabulary -tomy

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about thoracotomy

Time Traveler for thoracotomy

Time Traveler

The first known use of thoracotomy was circa 1857

See more words from the same year

Statistics for thoracotomy

Cite this Entry

“Thoracotomy.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 27 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for thoracotomy


tho·​ra·​cot·​o·​my | \ ˌthōr-ə-ˈkät-ə-mē, ˌthȯr- How to pronounce thoracotomy (audio) \
plural thoracotomies

Medical Definition of thoracotomy

: surgical incision of the chest wall

Comments on thoracotomy

What made you want to look up thoracotomy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


one that suddenly gains wealth or power

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Intact Latin Quiz

  • roman tablet
  • What did focus mean in Latin?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!