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Blog / Cancer, Early Detection, Lung Health

What is a Lung Lobectomy?

Dec. 04 2019 by Sheherzad Raza Preisler Blog Editor
What is a Lung Lobectomy?

Every year, lung cancer claims the lives of more individuals than prostate, colon, and breast cancers combined. About 13% of all new cases of cancer in the United States are lung cancer, and the American Cancer Society estimates that this year alone, more than 228,000 individuals will be diagnosed with the disease. 

They also approximate that more than 142,000 will lose their lives to it. The best way to improve your chances of surviving lung cancer is by catching it early. In fact, the likelihood you’ll survive non-small cell lung cancer (its most common type) for at least five years increases by 54% if you catch it while it’s still isolated in your lungs.

If you do have lung cancer, there are various treatment routes your doctor may recommend, such as surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and targeted therapy. Your doctor may also opt for a lobectomy, a procedure in which one of the lung’s lobes is surgically removed. 

Lobectomies might be carried out if an issue is found concentrated in one portion of a lung, so that the leftover healthy lung tissue can continue to function normally while decreasing the likelihood of the disease spreading to the other lobes. They’re often performed via a surgery known as a thoracotomy, which involves opening your chest. Sometimes, however, a surgeon will perform a lobectomy via a less-invasive procedure known as video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS). 

Lung cancer, however, isn’t the only time a lobectomy may be performed. Your doctor may recommend a lobectomy if you have the following:

  • A benign tumor, which is a noncancerous growth that may press on major blood vessels and impact the function of other organs.
  • A lung abscess, which is a pus-filled area that could form in the lung. The area could require removal if the abscess doesn’t resolve with antibiotics.
  • A fungal infection, which can grow within the body and lead to complications.
  • Tuberculosis (TB), which is a chronic bacterial infection that frequently impacts the lungs.
  • Emphysema, which is a chronic illness caused by elastic fibers found in the lungs breaking down.

Your physician will determine if a lobectomy is the appropriate recommended procedure for you, depending on your specific situation.