What types of lung cancer surgery are available?
Surgery to remove all or part of a lung is called a lung resection. The type of resection you have will depend on the size, type, and location of your tumor; your overall health; and how well your lungs work. Types of lung resection include:
- Lobectomy: This surgery removes a lobe in one of the lungs. You have five lobes, three in the left lung and two in the right. A lobectomy is one of the most common surgeries performed to treat lung cancer because it removes the entire area where the tumor is located.
- Pneumonectomy: This surgery removes an entire lung. We don’t perform many pneumonectomies because our goal is to save as much lung tissue as possible. However, this approach may be necessary for large and advanced lung cancers.
- Sublobar resection: We perform two types of surgeries to remove lung tumors:
- Wedge resection: This removes a wedge-shaped portion of the lung that contains cancerous cells and a marginal amount of surrounding tissue. The surgeon may recommend this if a lobectomy would decrease lung function.
- Segmentectomy: This approach removes more tissue than a wedge resection.
What minimally invasive lung cancer surgery options are available?
We use minimally invasive surgical techniques whenever possible to protect as much healthy lung tissue as we can. Additional benefits of these approaches include:
- Faster recoveries
- Shorter hospital stays
- Small incisions and minimal scarring
Our team specializes in two minimally invasive approaches: robot-assisted lung surgery and video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery.
Robot-assisted lung surgery
Robotic surgery allows our surgeons to operate with extreme precision, which is key when working near delicate lung tissue. The surgeon guides the robotic arms and controls them every step of the way. A high-definition 3-D camera allows the surgeon to see the chest and lungs as if performing an open surgery. We are one of only eight nationally recognized robotic surgery epicenters. Doctors travel from all over the country to learn advanced robotic surgery techniques from our team.
Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS)
In VATS, the surgeon makes small incisions and uses tiny instruments guided by a small camera at the end of a tube called a thorascope.