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Surgery Styles -- "surgery-spaced" class

Lung Surgery

Overview of Lung Surgery Options

Lung surgery involves an operation to enter your chest wall to obtain access to your lungs. There are a variety of reasons why you might need to have lung surgery. Some more common indications for surgery are evaluation and/or removal of a lung mass, a collapsed lung, infection in the lungs or lung cancer. There are two methods of obtaining the necessary access to your lungs for treatment of your disease or condition:

  • Thoracoscopy is the use of several small incisions in the skin to allow for the use of surgical equipment. The surgeon will use a video camera inserted into one of the incisions to guide the procedure. Surgery performed this way is known as Video Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery or VATS. This minimally invasive option results in a quicker recovery time and can be used for a variety of different lung surgeries.
  • Thoracotomy uses a larger incision into the chest such that they surgeon can visualize the lung directly. Either procedure can be done alone or a thoracoscopy can be used to determine the need for a thoracotomy.

A full evaluation of your disease or condition will help your surgeon decide which surgery is best for you. There are also different types of surgery performed using these methods:

  • Wedge resection is used to remove a mass or small piece of tissue from the lung. This procedure removes a triangle shaped piece, doesn't greatly distort the shape of the organ and leaves a single stitch line upon closure.
  • Lobectomy is the term used when the surgeon removes an entire lobe of lung tissue. The human lung has five lobes and the affected lobe can be removed to preserve the function of the remaining healthy lung tissue.
  • Pneumonectomy is the procedure that involves the removal of an entire lung when its abnormality or disease warrants it.

This information is provided by the Department of Surgery at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. It is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for advice about a specific medical condition.


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