A surgical procedure to remove all or part of a lung to remove cancerous cells in the tissue is Lung Cancer Surgery.
An incision is made on one side of the chest (thorax) to access the lung. After the cut is made between the ribs, all or part of the lung is removed depending on the location, size, and type of lung cancer that is present.
The types of lung surgery are
Wedge resection - eliminating the cancerous cells in the lung tissue along with the healthy tissues which surround them
Lobectomy - removal of any part of the lung
Pneumonectomy - removal of the lung
Sleeve resection - removal of a section of trachea or bronchus and the affected lung tissue
The most common symptoms of lung cancer are:
A cough that does not go away or gets worse
Coughing up blood or rust-colour sputum (spit or phlegm)
Chest pain that often becomes worse with deep breathing, coughing, or laughing
Hoarseness in the voice
Weight loss and loss of appetite
Shortness of breath
Feeling tired or weak
Infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia that do not go away or keep coming back
Before the surgery, the surgeon will recommed
Pulmonary function tests to check if the patient will have enough healthy lung tissue left after surgery
Spirometry and measurement of diffusing capacity for CO (DLco). These two represent function of different lung compartments.
Other tests check the function of the heart and other organs
The surgeon will check if the cancer has already spread to the lymph nodes between the lungs. This is often done just before surgery with mediastinoscopy, a process to get a visual of the thoracic cavity.
Lung Cancer Surgery is generally performed by an experienced surgical oncologist, under general anesthesia. It usually takes about 3 to 5 hours to perform the procedure.
A cut is made on one side of the chest (thorax) during a procedure known as thoracotomy. This approach avoids areas in the chest that contain the heart and the spinal cord.
In Pneumonectomy, entire organ is removed. This might be needed if the tumor is close to the centre of the chest.
In Lobectomy, the entire lobe containing the tumour(s) is removed. This is often the preferred type of operation for non-small cell lung cancer.
In Segmentectomy or Wedge Resection, only a part of a lobe is removed. This approach might be used if a person doesn’t have enough lung function for the removal of the whole lobe.
Sleeve Resection is used to treat some cancers in large airways in the lungs. The sleeve resection would be like cutting across the sleeve above and below the stain and then sewing the cuff back onto the shortened sleeve. A surgeon may be able to do this operation instead of a pneumonectomy to preserve more lung function.
Nearby lymph nodes are checked for possible spread of the cancer.
Video-assisted Thoracic Surgery (VATS)
Smaller incisions are made in the thoracic region.
Through these incisions, a thin, rigid tube with a tiny video camera on the end is placed through a small cut in the side of the chest to help the surgeon see inside the chest on a TV monitor.
One of the incisions is enlarged if a lobectomy or pneumonectomy is done to allow the specimen to be removed.
After surgery for lung cancer, the patient is monitored in intensive care (ICU) for a couple of days.
After shifting out of ICU, the nurses and physiotherapists will get the patient moving about as soon as possible, perform breathing exercises and leg exercises to prevent complications, such as blood clots in the legs or chest infections.
Regular chest X-rays are done to make sure the patient can breathe well.
In most cases, the patient will be ready to go home in about 10 days after the lung removal and 5 to 7 days after the lobectomy.
Risk and Complications
Lung cancer surgery is a complicated procedure. Possible risks include
Blood clots in the legs or lungs
Vocal chord issues
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