As part of a lobectomy, the surgeon will make an incision, or cut, on your side, which will start between two of your ribs, and go around to your back. Your ribs will be spread and held open. After locating the tumor, your surgeon will cut the veins, arteries, and bronchial tube to that area, and remove the lobe from the rest of the lung. Afterward, the blood vessels and bronchial tube will be carefully stapled or sewn closed so that they can heal.
The lymph nodes in the tissues surrounding the lung may also be taken out and tested for lung cancer cells. After the lobe has been taken out, your doctor will check inside your chest for bleeding in and around the lungs.
(Click Lung Lobectomy for more information.)
No procedure is ever completely free of risks. However, lobectomy has been performed for many years with successful results and limited complications.
Some lobectomy complications include, but are not limited to:
If any of these lobectomy complications develop, the treatment will depend on where it happens, how serious it is, and other factors, including your overall health. You may need to stay in the hospital longer than planned, and for some complications you might even need to have a blood transfusion or another surgery.
The goal of a lobectomy is to take out part of a lung that has a malignant tumor. Recovering from a lobectomy may take time, but the surgery can help you live longer and feel better. Some of your symptoms may improve after lobectomy, but it's important to remember that this may not be a cure. Each person will have different results depending on his or her health, as well as the size, type, and location of the tumor.