Lung Cancer Home > Possible Conversion to Pneumonectomy

A conversion to pneumonectomy can occur when you get a lobectomy. This means that the surgeon would remove more than one lobe, or an entire lung, rather than just one lobe. This possible conversion to pneumonectomy may be required, for example, if the tumor is in more than one lobe, or if the blood supply to the remaining lobes is too low.

An Overview of Conversion to Pneumonectomy

During a lobectomy, it's possible that your surgeon may need to take out more than one lobe, or even an entire lung. This might happen, for example, if the tumor is larger than your tests showed, and is in more than one lobe. It might also happen if the blood or oxygen supply to the remaining lobes is too low.
Having only one lung places a big strain on the lung and heart. How well your lung works will be a big factor in your recovery after the surgery. It will affect how long you continue to feel short of breath and how much physical activity you can tolerate. The extra strain on your remaining lung may be so great that you may need to be on a ventilator for a long period of time.
In some patients, taking out a lung puts too much strain on the heart and causes it to fail. This may result in the loss of life. Because of these factors, it's difficult to predict which people can survive with just one lung after having this surgery.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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