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Lung Resection

Alternate Names

  • lobectomy
  • pneumonectomy
  • wedge resection
  • removal of lung tissue
  • Lungs and bronchial tree

Definition

A lung resection is a surgical procedure to remove a portion of the lung or the whole lung.

Who is a candidate for the procedure?

A lung resection is usually performed on a person with a diseased or damaged lung. Reasons for lung resection include:
  • cancer or other tumors of the lung
  • lung conditions that cause secondary disease, such as dilated bronchi, or tubes leading to the lungs, known as bronchiectasis
  • lung disease, such as emphysema
  • lung infection, such as tuberculosis
  • lung abscess, or pus pocket
  • atelectasis, or a collapsed lung
Pulmonary function tests are performed before the procedure to assure as well as possible, that the person will have enough lung function remaining to survive after the diseased lung or section of lung is removed.

How is the procedure performed?

Lung resection is performed under general anesthesia, meaning the person is put to sleep with medication. To perform a lung resection, the surgeon makes an incision in the chest. If necessary, a rib is removed from the chest to gain better access to the diseased part of the lung. The lung is examined and the area of concern, such as a tumor, is identified.
The blood vessels that supply the area to be removed are sutured (tied off), and cut. The tumor or diseased area is then removed. If malignant tumors are removed, the lymph nodes near the lung and draining the lung are also removed. After removal of the diseased area, the muscles are sutured and reconstructed where necessary. A chest tube is left in place to remove fluid, blood, and air from the lung and chest wall. The incision is closed with sutures, clips, or staples.

Sources

Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, Fauci et al, 1998

Complete Guide to Symptoms, Illness and Surgery, Griffith, 2000

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