Meet Dr. Kemp Kernstine
Thoracic Surgeon and Robotic Surgery Pioneer

Holder of the:
Robert Tucker Hayes Foundation Distinguished Chair in Cardiothoracic Surgery

When abnormalities in the lungs or chest (thoracic region) are diagnosed and can be treated with surgery, having a specially trained, dedicated thoracic surgeon like Kemp Kernstine, M.D., Ph.D., on your team is highly recommended.

From what we see thus far, robotic surgery appears less painful than traditional surgery, particularly for surgeries in the chest area. The chest is an incredibly sensitive area. Less invasive surgery means less pain, less inflammation, and less time in the hospital.”

Dr. Kernstine specializes in minimally invasive and robotic surgery including dozens of robotic thoracic procedures since he started his practice at UT Southwestern and nearly 1,000 robotic chest surgeries. He is credited with performing several of the first robotic chest procedures and techniques, including the first published complete robotic oncologic esophagectomy in the world. Since his first surgery, he has become one of the highest volume robotic thoracic surgeons in the country with outstanding results. Patient after patient undergoing lung lobectomies, thymectomies, or esophagectomies appear to experience less pain, faster recovery, and the opportunity to get back to normal activities sooner because of the unique robotic skills offered by Dr. Kernstine. He has lectured worldwide on the different robotic chest techniques and serves as instructor internationally to surgeons and new surgical programs. He has published over 300 articles, book chapters, books and abstracts on a variety of chest surgery topics.

Dr. Kernstine has been named one of America’s Top Doctors by Castle Connolly every year since 2008 and one of America’s Top Doctors for Cancer since 2005. He made Pasadena Magazine’s Top Docs list in 2007-2010 and D Magazine's Top Doctors list since 2012.

As Professor and Chief of the Division of Thoracic Surgery and a leader on the lung cancer treatment team, Dr. Kernstine focuses on the surgical management of a wide spectrum of benign and malignant diseases of the chest and coordinates care with other physicians and team members throughout Simmons Cancer Center and UT Southwestern.

Clinical Interests/Specialties

  • Tracheal stenosis
  • Pericardial tamponade
  • Gastroesophageal reflux
  • Achalasia
  • Tracheal tumors
  • Chest wall tumors
  • Mediastinal masses
  • Thymic cancer
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Pulmonary metastasis
  • Esophageal perforation
  • Esophageal dysmotility