A lobectomy is the surgical removal of a lobe of an organ. It most often refers to the removal of a section of the lung. The right lung has three lobes — upper, middle and lower — and the left lung has two lobes — upper and lower.
A lobectomy is the most common way to treat lung cancer. It is often performed to remove cancerous tissue on any one of the lobes to prevent the spread of the cancer. Lobectomy is also done to treat fungal infections, benign tumours, emphysema, lung abscesses and tuberculosis.
- A lobectomy is performed under general anesthesia.
- In the case of a traditional lobectomy, the surgeon performs a thoracotomy by making a large incision in the chest. Then a space is created between the ribs to remove the lobe.
- An alternative to a traditional thoracotomy is video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS), which is less invasive and boasts of shorter recovery time.
- During this procedure, the surgeon will make four small incisions around the surgical area to insert a small camera and surgical tools.
- The problematic lobe is cut and removed through these small incisions.
- The incisions are closed.
After the surgery, you will be taught deep breathing and coughing exercises so that the lungs can learn to expand and contract again. This will improve your breathing and help to prevent pneumonia and other infections. Be sure to avoid smoking, chemical fumes, environmental pollution and exposure to people with respiratory infections.
The risks of a lobectomy include an infection, bleeding, empyema (collection of pus in the chest cavity), tension pneumothorax (occurs when air gets trapped between the lung and chest wall)