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Definition  

Each lung is made up of 2 or 3 sections called lobes. A lobectomy is the surgical removal of one of these sections from the lung.

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Lung Cancer  

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Reasons for Procedure  

A lobectomy is used to treat a variety of lung conditions, such as

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Possible Complications  

Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Anesthesia-related problems
  • Collapsed lung
  • Need for prolonged artificial respiration on a ventilator
  • Damage to nearby organs or structures
  • Chronic pain related to the surgery
  • Death

Before your procedure, talk to your doctor about ways to manage factors that may increase your risk of complications such as:

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What to Expect  

Prior to Procedure  

  • Your doctor may do the following:
  • Talk to your doctor about your medications. You may be asked to stop taking some medications up to one week before the procedure, like:
    • Anti-inflammatory drugs
    • Blood thinners
    • Antiplatelets
  • Follow a special diet if instructed.
  • Eat a light meal the night before. Do not eat or drink anything after midnight.
  • Take antibiotics or other medications as directed.
  • You may be asked to 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.

Anesthesia  

General anesthesia will be given. You will be asleep. A tube will be placed in your windpipe to help you breathe.

Description of Procedure  

A lobectomy may be done in one of two ways:

  • 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.

If you are having a lobectomy to remove cancer, the doctor will also remove lymph glands in your chest. The glands will be tested for any sign of cancer.

After completing the procedure, your doctor will place tubes in your chest. They will help drain the chest cavity. The incision(s) will be closed with stitches or staples.

Immediately After Procedure  

You will be taken to a recovery room. You will be given fluids and medications through an IV.

How Long Will It Take?  

The procedure takes about 1-4 hours.

How Much Will It Hurt?  

Anesthesia will prevent pain du