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Introduction

      One of the most technically challenging areas in all of thoracic surgery is surgery of the trachea and major bronchial airways. In this issue of Operative Techniques in Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery: A Comparative Atlas, the most common operations of the tracheo-bronchial tree are addressed. In addition, two of these procedures are described by different investigators to provide a side-by-side comparison that we trust may enlighten the reader further. The first comparative procedure is provided by Dr Douglas J. Mathisen of the Massachusetts General Hospital and Drs Thomas R. Todd and F. Griffith Pearson of the Toronto General Hospital who describe their respective techniques for performing subglottic tracheal resection. The second comparative section comes from Dr Steven J. Mentzer at the Brigham and Women's Hospital and Dr Thomas A. D' Amico at Duke University who describe how they perform sleeve resection of the right upper lobe.
      Additional sections of this issue include a description of sleeve resection of the left upper lobe by Dr Sudhir Sundaresan, a previous colleague of mine from Barnes Hospital in St Louis, and carinal resection and sleeve pneumonectomy using a transsternal approach, as performed at Sloan-Kettering by Dr Robert Ginsberg. We are most pleased that these investigators, all recognized authorities in the field, agreed to participate in this particular issue of Operative Techniques. It is sometimes difficult to convey the essence of a surgical procedure by drawings alone, but in this case the reporters have done an exemplary job, and in the course of doing so, have provided our readers with a comprehensive and instructive look at this demanding area of our specialty.