Lung surgery - Overview
Thoracotomy; Lung tissue removal; Pneumonectomy; Lobectomy; Lung biopsy; Thoracoscopy; Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery; VATS
Definition of Lung surgery:
Lung surgery is surgery to repair or remove lung tissue. Several common lung surgeries are:
- Lobectomy, to remove one or more lobes of a lung
- Wedge resection, to remove part of a lobe in a lung
- Pneumonectomy, to remove a lung
- Surgery to remove an infection or blood in the chest cavity
- Surgery to remove small balloon-like tissues (blebs) that cause lung collapse (pneumothorax)
- Biopsy of an unknown growth
A thoracotomy is a surgical cut that a surgeon makes to open the chest wall.
You will receive general anesthesia before surgery. You will be asleep and unable to feel pain. Two common ways to do surgery on your lungs are thoracotomy and video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS).
Lung surgery using a thoracotomy is called open surgery. In this surgery:
- You will lie on your side on an operating table. Your arm will be placed above your head.
- Your surgeon will make a surgical cut between two ribs. The cut will go from the front of your chest wall to your back, passing just underneath the armpit. These ribs will be separated.
- Your lung on this side will be deflated so that air will not move in and out of it during surgery. this makes it easier for the surgeon to operate on the lung.
- Your surgeon may not know how much of your lung needs to be removed until your chest is open and the lung can be seen.
- Your surgeon may also remove lymph nodes in this area.
- After surgery, one or more tubes will be placed into your chest area to drain out fluids that build up. These tubes are called chest tubes.
- After the surgery on your lungs, your surgeon will close the ribs, muscles, and skin with sutures.
- Open lung surgery may take from 2 to 6 hours.
Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery:
- Your surgeon will make several small surgical cuts over your chest wall. A videoscope (a tube with a tiny camera on the end) and other small tools will be passed through these cuts.
- Then, your surgeon may remove part or all of your lung, drain fluid or blood that has built up, or do other procedures.
- One or more tubes will be placed into your chest to drain out fluids that build up.
Why the Procedure Is Performed:
Thoracotomy or video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery may be done to:
Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery can be used to treat many of these conditions. However, sometimes video surgery may not be possible, and the surgeon may have to switch to an open surgery.
- Reviewed last on: 5/17/2010
- Shabir Bhimji, MD, PhD, Specializing in Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery, Midland, TX. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
Smythe WR, Reznik SI, Putnam JB Jr. Lung (including pulmonary embolism and thoracic outlet syndrome). In: Townsend CM, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 18th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2008:chap 59.
Wiener-Kronish JP, Shepherd KE, Bapoje SR, Albert RK. Preoperative evaluation. In: Mason RJ, Broaddus C, Martin T, et al, eds. Murray and Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2010:chap 26.
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