Lung resection involves removing all or part of a lung, usually as a treatment for lung cancer or another lung disease. Lung resections can consist of removing only a small portion of the lung (segmentectomy), a lobe of the lung (lobectomy), or in severe cases, an entire lung (pneumonectomy). Lung resections are also commonly used to treat infectious lesions and benign masses in the lungs.
What is it?
There are many reasons as to why a part of the lung may need to be replaced, but one of the most common reasons for lung resection is cancer. When a cancerous mass is found inside the lung, resection surgery may prove to be lifesaving. Depending on the position of the mass, different parts of the lung may need to be removed. This can be done traditionally using open surgery or with minimally invasive surgery. Minimally invasive surgery may be preferred for patients requiring smaller resections since the surgery does not break bone or create large incisions.
What should I do to prepare?
Individuals will need to undergo various blood tests and other screenings prior to surgery. Individuals should not consume food within twenty-four hours prior to the procedure and may need to avoid certain dietary supplements and medications. Patients will need to inform the surgeon of all preexisting medical conditions before the surgery. If there is time, patients may also consider donating their blood before the operation to be used during surgery.
What happens during the process?
Patients will be under general anesthesia for this surgery. Catheters may be placed in various parts of the body. If the patient will undergo open surgery, the surgeon will make an incision in the chest to access the ribcage and chest cavity. After gaining access to the lung, the surgeon will remove the diseased/abnormal tissues. Depending on the patient’s condition, varying sizes of the lung may be removed. If the patient’s condition does not require open surgery, minimally invasive surgery will give the doctor access to the chest cavity through a small incision. Using a camera attached to a long tube, the surgeon will remove the diseased portion of the lung, sometimes in smaller pieces. Following the removal of the diseased lung, both procedures also include the removal of lymph nodes near the surgical site. These will be used for testing to determine how far the cancer has spread. Following the surgery, the wounds will be sealed and a catheter will be inserted to allow air and fluid to drain from the chest.
What are the risks and potential complications?
Some associated risks and complications include, but are not limited to, excessive bleeding and infection, air leak in the patient’s lung, anesthetic complications, blood clots in the legs or lungs, chronic pain in the chest wall, and damage to the heart, lungs, blood vessels, or nerves in the chest.
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