July 27, 2017

Lung Lobectomy

A lung lobectomy is a treatment option for conditions like lung cancer, severe coronary obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or even tuberculosis.

What is a lobectomy for?

A lobectomy is a procedure that is used to take out a part of a lung (lobe). A lobectomy can prevent disease from spreading to the remainder of the lung and provide the best chance of curing conditions like lung cancer.

Do I need a lobectomy performed?

Recommendations for performing a lobectomy depend on the size, spread, and severity of the tumor.

Tests that will confirm that the patient is a candidate for the procedure are:

  • Imaging tests (X-ray)
  • PET-CT scans (computerized tomography)
  • Tissue samples, biopsy
  • Microscopic evidence, lung cancer cells found in sputum from coughing

Lobectomy Surgery: How is it performed?

The removal of lobe depends on the location of the size, location, and spread of the tumor.

Open (Thoracotomy) Lobectomy

In an open lobectomy, a thoracotomy is performed to allow the surgeon to have open access to the organ the chest (thoracic) cavity. The cut (or incision) is about 10-15cm that extends from the patient’s side from over the ribs, under the arm, and up the back.

Risk of surgery:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Stroke
  • Heart Attack
  • Pneumonia
  • Pain
  • Difficulty breathing

Thoracotomy Lobectomy

Risks of a thoracotomy lobectomy:

A thoracotomy lobectomy is a serious procedure, but is generally safe but not without its own risks. The risks of a thoracotomy are mostly related to the incision itself, but also related to underlying lung functions. Management of both infection and pain of the incision are serious concerns during and after surgery.

This surgery can be recommended for:

  • mediastinal tumors (within the chest)
  • non-small cell lung cancer
  • small tumors close to major blood vessels
  • removal of large tumors
  • conditions of existing scar tissue damage
  • lymph nodes found close to vital organs

VATS (Video-Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery) Lobectomy

“VATS” stands for video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery. In a VATS procedure, a lobectomy is performed through a few small incisions using special instruments and a camera. During the procedure the surgeon will use the camera attached to a thoracoscope to visualize the inside of the chest through a monitor. Using specialized tools, the surgeon and his team are able to operate inside the chest through several small cuts, or ports. VATS lobectomy is a minimally invasive procedure and involves removing a portion of the lung.

VATS can be recommended for patients with:

  • Early stage lung cancer
  • Non-small cell lung cancer
  • Primary tumors 3 cm or less in diameter
  • Peripheral lymph nodes

Goals of lobectomy:

  • Stop the spread of disease or cancerous growth
  • Improve breathing
  • Increase survival of patients diagnosed with malignant tumors