Each lung is made up of 2 or 3 sections called lobes. A lobectomy is the removal of one of these lobes. The procedure may be done through an opening in the chest wall or through small incisions and special tools.
A lobectomy is used to treat a variety of lung conditions, such as
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Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:
Before your procedure, talk to your doctor about ways to manage factors that may increase your risk of complications, such as:
Your doctor may do the following:
Talk to your doctor about your medications. You may be asked to stop taking some medications up to 1 week before the procedure.
Before your procedure, you may need to:
General anesthesia will be given—you will be asleep during the procedure
A lobectomy may be done in 1 of 2 ways:
Tubes will be placed in your chest. They will help drain the chest cavity. The incision(s) will be closed with stitches or staples.
You will be taken to a recovery room. You will be given fluids and medications through an IV.
1 to 4 hours
Anesthesia will prevent pain during surgery. Pain and discomfort after the procedure can be managed with medications.
You will be asked to cough and walk often.
You may be given an incentive spirometer. This is a breathing exercise device that will encourage you to take deep breaths.
The chest tube will be removed before you go home.
During your stay, the hospital staff will take steps to reduce your chance of infection, such as:
There are also steps you can take to reduce your chance of infection, such as:
You will have to limit specific activities, but daily walks may be encouraged. Follow your doctor's instructions.
Contact your doctor if your recovery is not progressing as expected or you develop complications such as:
Call for emergency medical services right away for:
If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
American Cancer Society
National Cancer Institute
Information for patients undergoing a thorascopic wedge/lobectomy. University of Michigan Department of Surgery website. Available at: http://surgery.med.umich.edu/thoracic/patient/discharge_followup/teaching/tscope_lobe.shtml. Accessed January 26, 2021.
Lobectomy. Johns Hopkins Medicine website. Available at: http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/test_procedures/pulmonary/lobectomy_92,P07749. Accessed January 26, 2021.
Management of resectable non-small cell lung cancer. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T906057/Management-of-resectable-non-small-cell-lung-cancer. Accessed January 26, 2021.
Small cell lung cancer. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115654/Small-cell-lung-cancer. Accessed January 26, 2021.
Surgery for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/non-small-cell-lung-cancer/treating/surgery.html. Accessed January 26, 2021.
Last reviewed November 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review BoardNicole S. Meregian, PA