Thoracotomy; Lung tissue removal; Pneumonectomy; Lobectomy; Lung biopsy; Thoracoscopy; Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery; VATS
Lung surgery is surgery done to repair or remove lung tissue. There are many common lung surgeries, including:
A thoracotomy is a surgical cut that a surgeon makes to open the chest wall.
You will have general anesthesia before surgery. You will be asleep and unable to feel pain. Two common ways to do surgery on your lungs are thoracotomy and video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS). Robotic surgery may also be used.
Lung surgery using a thoracotomy is called open surgery. In this surgery:
Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery:
Thoracotomy or video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery may be done to:
Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery can be used to treat many of these conditions. In some cases, video surgery may not be possible, and the surgeon may have to switch to an open surgery.
Risks of this surgery include:
You will have several visits with your health care provider and undergo medical tests before your surgery. Your provider will:
If you are a smoker, you should stop smoking several weeks before your surgery. Ask your provider for help.
Always tell your provider:
During the week before your surgery:
On the day of your surgery:
Most people stay in the hospital for 5 to 7 days after open thoracotomy. Hospital stay for a video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery is most often shorter. You may spend time in the intensive care unit (ICU) after either surgery.
During your hospital stay, you will:
The outcome depends on:
Alfille PH, Wiener-Kronish JP, Bagchi A. Preoperative evaluation. In: Broaddus VC, Mason RJ, Ernst JD, et al, eds. Murray & Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 27.
Feller-Kopman DJ, Decamp MM. Interventional and surgical approaches to lung disease. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 101.
Putnam JB. Lung, chest wall, pleura, and mediastinum. In: Townsend CM Jr, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2017:chap 57.
Last reviewed on: 5/24/2016
Reviewed by: Mary C. Mancini, MD, PhD, Department of Surgery, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center-Shreveport, Shreveport, LA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.