(Removal of a Lung Lobe)
Reasons for Procedure
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- Anesthesia-related problems
- Collapsed lung—atelectasis
- Need for prolonged mechanical ventilation
- Damage to nearby organs or structures
- Chronic pain related to the surgery
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
- Physical exam
- Blood and urine tests
- Pulmonary function tests
- Imaging tests to assess the lungs and surrounding structures:
- Follow a special diet.
- Eat a light meal the night before. Do not eat or drink anything after midnight.
- Take antibiotics or other medications.
- Shower the night before the procedure with a special soap.
- Arrange to have someone drive you to and from the procedure.
- Arrange for help at home as you recover.
Description of Procedure
- Traditional thoracotomy—A large incision will be made. The ribs will be spread. The doctor will locate and remove the lung lobe.
- Video-assisted thoracic procedure—Several small incisions will be made between your ribs. A tiny camera and special tools will be inserted through the incisions. Your doctor will be able to see the inside of your chest on a nearby monitor. The lung lobe will be located and removed.
Immediately After Procedure
How Long Will It Take?
How Much Will It Hurt?
Average Hospital Stay
- Thoracotomy—about 1-2 weeks
- Video-assisted thoracic procedure—2-5 days
- Washing their hands
- Wearing gloves or masks
- Keeping your incisions covered
- Washing your hands often and reminding your healthcare providers to do the same
- Reminding your healthcare providers to wear gloves or masks
- Not allowing others to touch your incision
Call Your Doctor
- Signs of infection, including fever and chills
- Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or any discharge from the incision site
- Persistent nausea and vomiting
- Pain that you cannot control with the medications you've been given
- Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
- Coughing up yellow, green, or bloody mucus
- Pain and/or swelling in your feet, calves, or legs
- Sudden chest pain
- Sudden shortness of breath
American Cancer Society http://www.cancer.org
National Cancer Institute http://www.cancer.gov
Canadian Cancer Society http://www.cancer.ca
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Information for patients undergoing a thorascopic wedge/lobectomy. University of Michigan Department of Surgery website. Available at: http://surgery.med.umich.edu/thoracic/patient/discharge%5Ffollowup/teaching/tscope%5Flobe.shtml. Accessed May 23, 2013.
Lobectomy. Johns Hopkins Medicine website. Available at: http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/test%5Fprocedures/pulmonary/lobectomy%5F92,P07749. Accessed May 23, 2013.
Non-small cell lung cancer. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated April 14, 2013. Accessed May 23, 2013.
6/3/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us: Mills E, Eyawo O, et al. Smoking cessation reduces postoperative complications: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Med. 2011;124(2):144-154.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 02/2015 -
- Update Date: 01/23/2014 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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