Lung Cancer Surgery

If you’ve received a diagnosis of lung cancer, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove the cancerous tissue as part of your treatment plan. Our lung cancer team at Henry Ford Cancer includes thoracic surgeons with extensive experience in every type of lung cancer surgery.

We are one of only eight nationally recognized robotic surgery epicenters, which means we teach doctors across the country how to use these highly precise, minimally invasive surgical techniques. We use minimally invasive surgical techniques whenever possible to preserve your healthy lung tissue while we remove and destroy your lung cancer.


Screening Provides Hope

Vic Thompson is cancer-free after early-stage lung cancer is detected and removed.

Minimally invasive lung cancer surgery

We specialize in two minimally invasive approaches for lung cancer surgery:

  • Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS): During a VATS procedure, your surgeon will make small incisions and insert a thin camera called a thoracoscope. The thoracoscope includes a light and a small video camera to let your surgeon see the cancerous tissue. Your surgeon will use tiny instruments to remove the cancerous tissue while sparing healthy lung tissue.
  • Robot-assisted lung surgery: This approach lets our surgeons operate with extreme precision, which is key when working near delicate lung tissue. Our expertise with robot-assisted lung surgery means doctors from all over the country come to learn advanced techniques from our team. A high-definition 3D camera will show your surgeon the chest and lungs during the procedure, and the surgeon will control the robot’s surgical arms at all times.

Compared to traditional open surgery for lung cancer, these minimally invasive techniques offer faster recoveries, shorter hospital stays and smaller incisions with minimal scarring. Watch the video below to learn more about the benefits of minimally invasive lung cancer surgery with our team.

Types of lung cancer surgery

Your doctor will recommend a particular type of lung cancer surgery based on several key factors, including:

  • The size, type and location of your tumor
  • Your overall health
  • How well your lungs work

You and your doctor will decide together which type of surgery is right for you. The types of lung cancer surgery we offer include:

  • Pneumonectomy: In this surgery, the surgeon removes an entire lung. We only use this approach for large and advanced lung cancers.
  • Lobectomy: This surgery involves the removal of one or more of the five lobes of the lungs. It’s one of the most common lung cancer surgeries because it removes the entire area where your tumor is located.
  • Segmentectomy: This surgery involves removing cancerous cells and a segment of surrounding tissue from your lung. If your doctor determines a lobectomy would decrease your lung function, this procedure may be an alternative.
  • Wedge resection: This surgery is similar to a segmentectomy, but it involves the removal of more tissue. Your surgeon will remove cancerous cells and a wedge-shaped section of surrounding tissue from your lung.

You may need chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy as part of your treatment plan — either before surgery to shrink cancerous tissue or afterward to destroy any cancerous tissue that may remain. You and your doctor will discuss what approach is right for you.

If we can’t access your tumor through minimally invasive approaches, your doctor may need to perform surgery in order for us to take a tissue sample (biopsy) for testing and staging of your tumor. Watch the video below to learn more about surgery for diagnosing lung cancer.


Newly diagnosed?

Contact the cancer team 24/7 by calling (888) 777-4167.


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