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What is Postpneumonectomy Syndrome?


Updated October 10, 2012

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.


Postpneumonectomy syndrome is a rare complication that can occur months to years following a pneumonectomy for lung cancer or other conditions. It is more common following a left pneumonectomy than a right pneumonectomy, and occurs more frequently in younger people.

Postpneumonectomy syndrome can occur when the remaining lung and structures in the middle area of the chest (the mediastinum) are displaced, and fill the empty area that is left after a lung is removed. Symptoms often include progressive shortness of breath. Because many people have some shortness of breath following a pneumonectomy, this symptom can be easily overlooked.

Treatment may involve the use of silicone implants (similar to breast implants) that are placed in the chest to fill the space that is left following removal of a lung.

Josh was becoming more short of breath a year after his pneumonectomy for lung cancer, and his doctor diagnosed him with postpneumonectomy syndrome.

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