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What is Lobectomy

It is a surgical procedure to remove one of the sections, of the lung, each lung in made up of 2-3 sections called lobes.

Reasons for Procedure

A lobectomy is used to treat a variety of lung conditions, such as

  • Lung cancer
  • Congenital defects
  • Cysts
  • Tuberculosis
  • Fungal infections
  • Abscesses
  • Lobar emphysema
  • Lung Cancer

Possible Complications

If you are considering on doing a lobectomy, then your doctor will review and discuss with you a list of complications which include:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Anaesthesia-related problems
  • Collapsed lung
  • Need for prolonged artificial respiration on a ventilator
  • Damage to nearby organs or structures
  • Chronic pain related to the surgery
  • Death

Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:

  • Increased age
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Excessive alcohol intake

What to Expect

Prior to Procedure

The doctor will run your though a series of tests that include: Your doctor may do the following:

  • Physical exam
  • Blood and urine tests
  • Chest x-ray
  • Pulmonary function test
  • Ultrasound
  • CT scan
  • MRI scan

If you are under any kind of medication, let your doctor know, as he would advise you to stop taking medication, the week before the procedure. Especially Aspirin or other anti-inflammatory drugs, like

  • Blood thinners

Follow a special diet if instructed.

  • Maintain low diet , the night before, and do not drink anything after midnight
  • Stick to medication as instructed by the doctor
  • The doctor would ask you to have a shower one night before procedure, with a special soap.
  • Make arrangements prior to the procedure, for someone to stay with you and also to take you home.


General anaesthesia will be administered, and you would sleep through the procedure. The doctor would place a tube in your windpipe to help you to breathe.

Description of Procedure

There are two ways a lobectomy is done:

  • Traditional thoracotomy - The surgeon will make a large incision, so that he will be able to spread the ribs and reach to remove lung lobe.
  • Video-assisted thoracic procedure - There are several small incision which will be made by the surgeon between the ribs. The surgeon will insert a tiny camera and special tools will be inserted through the incision, and the doctor will be able to see the inside of your chest, on a nearby monitor. The lung lobe will be located and removed. If you are having a surgical procedure with objector to remove cancer, then the doctor will also remove lymph glands in your chest. The glands will be tested for a sign of cancer.

After the surgeon completes the procedure, then the doctor will place tubes in your chest, and help to drain the chest cavity. The incisions made will be closed with stitches or staples.

Immediately After Procedure

After the procedure is over the doctor will take you to the recovery room. You drugs and medication, and fluids will be administered through an IV.

How Long Will It Take?

The procedure takes about 1-4 hours.

How Much Will It Hurt?

You will experience pain, as the anaesthesia is wearing out, and the pain can be controlled with pain medication.

Average Hospital Stay

  • If it is a Thoracotomy about 1-2 weeks
  • If it is by Video-assisted thoracic procedure 2-5 days

Post-procedure Care

At the Hospital

The surgeon, will ask you to cough and walk as often. You would be given an incentive spriometer, this is kind of breathing exercise device which will encourage to take deep breaths.

At Home

Make sure that you follow all the instructions, that may include:

The doctor will advise that you

  • Walk daily
  • Limit yourself from lifting anything too heavy, for the first few days, after the surgery.
  • Take care of the incision and follow instructions with surgeon.
  • Before you have a shower,bathe or soak in the tub , ask your doctor.
  • Pain medication will be administered

Call Your Doctor

If you have any problems, after you leave the hospital call the doctor for the following:

  • Signs of infection, including fever and chills
  • Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or any discharge from the incision site
  • Nausea and/or vomiting that you cannot control with the medicines you were given after surgery, or which last for more than two days after you leave the hospital
  • Pain that you cannot control with the medicines you have been given
  • Pain, burning, urgency or frequency of urination, or persistent blood in the urine
  • Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
  • Coughing up yellow, green, or bloody mucus
  • Pain and/or swelling in your feet, calves, or legs
Call for medical help or go to the emergency room right away if any of the following occurs:
  • Sudden chest pain
  • Sudden shortness of breath

If it is an emergency, call for medial help right away.