A lobectomy is a type of lung cancer surgery, in which one lobe of a lung is removed as a treatment for lung cancer. The right lung has 3 lobes, and the left lung has 2 lobes. A lobectomy is also performed occasionally for other conditions, such as tuberculosis, severe COPD, or trauma that interrupts major blood vessels near the lungs.
Types of ProceduresA lobe of your lung can be removed by a few different methods. Your surgeon will recommend one of these based upon both the characteristics of your particular cancer, and how comfortable he is with each of the procedures:
- Open lobectomy – In an open lobectomy, a lobe of the lungs is removed through a long incision on the side of the chest (thoracotomy).
- VATS (Video-Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery) lobectomy – In this procedure a lobe of the lung is removed through a few small incisions in the chest with the assistance of instruments and a camera. A VATS procedure may be considered for stage 1 lung cancer with fairly small tumors (usually less than 3-4 cm). When a VATS lobectomy is possible, it may result in fewer complications than an open lobectomy.
When is a Lobectomy Done?The type of lung cancer surgery your doctor recommends will depend upon several factors, including:
- The location of your tumor
- The size of your tumor
- Whether or not your tumor has spread to nearby tissues
- Your general state of health
- How well your lungs are functioning prior to surgery
Next, Preparing for Your Surgery