Lung Cancer Surgery

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When the cancerous malignant tumor originates or develops in the lungs then it is called as primary lung cancer and when the cancer spreads to the lungs from the other body parts then it is called as malignant lung cancer. Lung cancer has the maximum number of cases recorded under fatal cancer incidents in the United States.

The structure of right lung differs slightly from that of left lung. The right lung has three parts or lobes whereas the left lung has got two parts. There is a part present in the left lung which is called as lingula which corresponds to or equivalents to the middle part of the right lung. The exchanges of gases i.e. exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen takes place in a sac like structure called as alveoli. Alveoli are a sac like structure present at the end of bronchioles which are smaller branches of the main air passage bronchi.

Since, the tumor in lung cancer is developed in the lungs; it obstructs the air flow in that particular part of the lung. This results in shortness of breath or hoarseness. Lung cancer when diagnosed early can be treated easily and successfully.

Surgery is one of the primary treatments widely used to remove the cancerous tumors. As per the stage of the cancer, the type of surgery is chosen.

Following are the types of lung cancer surgeries:

A procedure called thoracotomy is done before performing any type of lung surgery. This procedure involves making a cut on one of the side of the chest and thus protecting the parts of the chest containing the heart and the spinal cord since these are one of the most delicate organs of the body.

  1. Wedge resection or segmentectomy:

    In this surgery, a wedge shaped portion containing the cancerous tumor is removed along with a few surrounding healthy tissues. Lobectomy or the lobe of the lung is likely to be removed. The possible threat with this type of surgery is that the risk of recurrence of lung cancer is very high in such circumstances.

  2. Pneumonectomy:

    This type of surgery is performed only when the tumor has invaded more than 80% of the lung. The entire lung is removed which contains the tumor. This will affect the function of respiration and the function of both the lungs will be performed now by only one lung thus increasing the pressure on the lone organ.

  3. Lobectomy:

    Lobectomy is a surgery that involves the removal of an entire lobe of the lung. The right lung has three lobes and the left lung has two lobes. The lobe comprising of tumor is removed completely. The lungs can perform their function properly even if one of the lobes is removed.

After any lung surgery is performed, a chest tube is used to drain out the blood and fluid out of the chest cavity and is then filled with air.

After-surgery Treatment:

You will need to stay in the hospital for a quite a long period of time until your lung functions properly. Your stay in the hospital will be dependent on which type of surgery is performed, your lung functioning and your overall health.

  • Chest pain is inevitable after the lung surgery. Doctor will give you certain pain killers or treatment to reduce the intensity of the pain. The pain may stay for several weeks or months if the surgery involved removal a part or a small portion of the rib. Surgeons usually remove a small portion of the rib so as to make it easy to remove the lung cancer tumor.

  • Respiratory treatments are given post lung cancer surgery. These respiratory treatments usually consist of deep breathing and use of an instrument called spirometer. Spirometer is used to measure the rate and amount of air that can move in and out of the lung.

Effectiveness of the Surgery:

Surgery is generally performed in the initial phase of lung cancer when the cancer has not spread to the lymph nodes or beyond the chest cavity. Surgery is one of the efficient methods to treat non-small cell cancer in the early stages.

Side-effects or risks of lung cancer surgery:

  • Damage to the blood vessels and nerves near to the part that is operated
  • Chest pain
  • Possibility of air leak in the lung which does not close
  • Bleeding
  • Loss of blood
  • Infection
  • Risk from the general anesthesia injected

Before undergoing any surgery, get detailed information about the procedure, recovery time, its possible side-effects and other factors from your doctor. Surgery is the only effective and successful method in treating most types of lung cancer.

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