Lung Surgery for Lung Cancer
Surgery to remove all or part of a lung may be done by making a cut on one side of your chest (thorax) during a procedure called a thoracotomy. Surgery that uses this approach avoids areas in the chest that contain the heart and the spinal cord.
After the cut is made between the ribs, all or part of the lung is removed depending on the location, size, and type of lung cancer that is present. See pictures of:
- Reference Normal anatomy of the lungs and respiratory system Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window.
- Reference Lung cancer Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window. Lung cancer is the rapid growth of abnormal cells in the lung tissue.
Reference Lung surgery Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window. The types of lung surgery are:
- Wedge resection (segmentectomy). The surgeon removes a small wedge-shaped piece of lung that contains the lung cancer and a margin of healthy tissue around the cancer. This is likely to be done when your lung function would be decreased too much by removing a lobe of lung (lobectomy). The risk of lung cancer coming back (recurring) is higher with this method.
- Lobectomy. The right lung has three lobes and the left lung has two lobes. A lobectomy removes the entire lobe of your lung that contains the cancer. Your lungs can function with the lobes that remain.
- Pneumonectomy. A pneumonectomy removes your entire lung that contains the lung cancer. A pneumonectomy is done only when needed, because it will greatly reduce your overall lung function.
- Sleeve resection. The surgeon removes the cancerous part of the bronchus and reconnects the healthy ends. The bronchus is the part of the trachea (windpipe) that branches off into each side of the lungs.
- Reference Chest tube Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window. A chest tube is used after lung surgery to drain fluid and blood out of your chest cavity and help your lung refill with air.
A Reference video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) Opens New Window may be done before or instead of a thoracotomy. This procedure involves inserting a long, thin tube (videoscope) with a camera attached and small surgical instruments into your chest through small cuts made between your ribs.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: September 12, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference Michael Seth Rabin, MD - Medical Oncology